NORTHPORT — Upstream Watch informed members of the public July 28 about the status of lawsuits against Nordic Aquafarms, Belfast and the state regarding the company’s proposed land-based fish farm.

About 60 people gathered at The Hoot in Northport and heard from members of the organization and its representatives. Nordic’s Senior Vice President of Engineering Ed Cotter and community liaison Jacki Cassida attended the gathering.

Upstream attorney David Losee talked about the status of the appeal of the court’s decision not to reverse the Board of Environmental Protection’s decision to permit Nordic’s proposed fish farm, the status of the lawsuit against Belfast for its decision to permit the company, and the Zoning Board of Appeals’ decision not to consider the organization’s appeal and the appeal of the land dispute.

Losee described three primary aspects of the state’s permitting process that the organization is appealing to the Maine Supreme Court. A lower court ruled earlier this year that the BEP did not err in approving the permits for the project.

The organization claims that the BEP did not consider all emission sources when it approved the project’s small emissions permit application.

The group also claims that the state made an error when it did not force Nordic to consider zero-discharge technology before approving its recirculating aquaculture system, which takes water in and discharges it through intake and discharge pipes. Losee said state and federal laws require the company to consider that technology before its permits can be approved.

Upstream Watch also claims that because the company did not disclose sufficient information to prove that the facility will not have an unreasonable adverse impact on the environment, then the company’s Site Location and Development Act application should not have been approved.

“I think that we have three strikes on these guys and I want to get it to court,” Losee said.

Losee discussed the organization’s appeal to the Belfast Planning Board’s decision to approve the company’s permit and the Zoning Board of Appeals’ decision to deny the organization the right to appeal the permit decision for lack of standing.

Upstream Watch claims the board did not require the company to do certain things, which prevented opponents from being able to comment or participate in further project findings.

The appeal of Waldo County Superior Court Justice Robert Murray’s decision that the intertidal land where Nordic wants to lay intake and outflow pipes is not owned by neighboring property owners, who are project opponents, is expected to be in front of the Maine Supreme Court by this fall.

It claims that the judge made errors in his decision that the intertidal land was not severed from the upland lot. To the organization, there is no ambiguity in the deeds and that historic deeds over the upland property states that the property line ends at the “high water mark,” which would exclude the mudflats.

Nordic’s surveyor argued during the June 2021 court hearing that because the term “high water mark” was not accompanied by certain prepositions it does not sever the intertidal land from the upland lot.

Since that hearing the property was bought by Nordic and then the company gave it to the city in exchange for an easement that allows the company to place its intake and outflow pipes under the property, along with other privileges to the property.

Upstream President Amy Grant asked for people to consider volunteering with the organization and to consider contributing to their fight financially. She said the path is not yet clear for the company to build its facility and that winning even just once in court could derail the project.

Nordic states that it has always been committed to hearing and understanding concerns from the community, according to a statement it issued The Republican Journal Aug. 2. Its goal is to make sure the community has access to facts and references. It wants people to form their opinion about the project based on accurate information.

The company expected that there would be appeals to the permit decision and it looks forward to hearing the rulings.