Letters, April 22

Apr 22, 2021

Why should Belfast pay the price?

It is Earth Day this Thursday, but I am not going to celebrate. It is undeniable that Nordic Aquafarms will cause environmental damage. However, the Maine Department of Environmental Protection still issued conditional permits to this massive ecocide project.

Nordic would like the public to believe all is well, yet I draw your attention to the concept of regulatory fallacy. As defined by the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund: “Regulatory agencies regulate the amount of harm that takes place. When they issue permits, they give cover to the applicant against liability to the community for the legalized harm.”

Nordic's wastewater permit was issued despite nitrogen discharge levels that exceeded even the EPA’s degradation limits. Apparently, Belfast does not qualify for the Clean Water Act. Belfast does not rate an Environmental Impact Study. Instead, we are to conditionally accept pollution because of supposed benefit to the state (and Nordic stakeholders).

Churchill had a famous joke that ended with “Madam, we’ve already established that, now we are haggling for the price.” Gov. Mills, and Belfast officials, terminate this sham. We have established what Nordic is, pollution with a side of fish. Why would Belfast have to pay the price? Happy Earth Day.

Eileen Wolper


Time for 'suicide prevention'

I have been an observer of the permitting process for Nordic Aquafarms' proposed facility in Belfast. I can't fathom the irregularities of the process. You don't have to comply with federal laws? If you have trouble getting approval from the designated state body, you can swap to another? You can ignore property rights as if they don't exist?

You can pretend our shallow bay, with its delicate recovering ecosystem and local recreational value, is really the same as deep ocean waters (all the while ignoring that we have polluted our deep ocean waters as well)? You can pretend that a factory that would use a gargantuan amount of electricity would have a low carbon footprint? You can introduce a bill like LD 1473, which likens a complex factory of immense scale to a cow shed?

You can ignore all the science and research that tells us what we need to do to confront the growing crisis of our planet? Over the last 50 years Belfast folk have built an admirable grassroots local food economy. Over the same 50 years, it has become clear that giant corporate food production, now the norm, has polluted the earth and destroyed local communities.

I have read that when Midwest farmers call the federal helpline, they are given the phone number for suicide prevention. I think Belfast needs some suicide prevention!

Cynthia C. Anderson


Fears bill is a runaround

I am writing to register my very strong objection to the proposed Legislative Document No. 1473, which was presented to the state Senate April 14. This creates an obvious runaround for Nordic Aquafarms' proposed facility in Belfast in its effort to get permit approval.

Given the rush to present it, and the fact that it goes into effect immediately if passed, it also appears to be another effort by some in favor of Nordic to subvert what should always be a transparent and lawful process.

It is my hope that this will not be allowed to pass.

Cecile Greider


Capitalism a sales cycle

When I was straight out of college, I bought into the system that said that young white women with some attractiveness should use their youth and looks to help businesses succeed.

Naturally, I took to learning about the art of salesmanship, to find a better way. It was then that I realized how much of the work (of selling) was related to your ability to present to the world as a consistent, confident, neutral person, aka someone who has processed all of their trauma into something beneficial for society. I was curious how this could be so, given how little support we provide people in healing trauma, collectively.

I began to notice that just about every single job that a person can be hired for — or is the hiring party for — is a blind guess about how a person’s trauma and coping skills will mesh with those of the other parties involved. How do we complete cooperative tasks well, given our deeply conditioned individual, family, societal and cultural wounding? We call numbing it out "professional."

How much value do we lose because so many in our society, and therefore our economy, are deeply traumatized people? How do we heal our trauma so that we can have a functional economic system that works for everyone? How do we go on if we do we not do this?

It wasn’t until reading Resmaa Menakem’s book, "My Grandmother's Hands," that I put the dots together. If we don’t heal our personal, familial, societal and cultural trauma, the capitalist experiment will fail. Therefore, it is an appropriate response by those who wish to operate in capitalism, or some variation thereof, to support and create pathways for healing trauma within the general population — the world over — in order to withstand and uphold the structures that enable commerce to be conducted.

Amelia Tracy


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Comments (6)
Posted by: Andrew Ellicott Stevenson | Apr 28, 2021 18:50

Ms. Cassida is incorrect in stating that LD 1473, if passed, would not impact the design and construction of Nordic's fish-raising factory.  The critical part of the bill would amend the state's building codes to exempt land-based aquaculture facilities -- regardless of their design, size, or product line -- from the normal building and energy code requirements for industrial facilities.  If Whole Oceans in Bucksport thinks this exemption will lower their construction costs, it is reasonable to think that Nordic will come to the same conclusion.  Here is the full text of the proposed amendment:

"Sec. 1. 10 MRSA [Section] 9722, [Subsection] 6, [Paragraph] B-1, as enacted by PL 2019, c. 391. [Section] 4, as amended by amending subparagraph (4) to read:

(4) That buildings used to house livestock or harvested crops or land-based aquaculture facilities are not subject to the Maine Uniform Building and Energy Code. For purposes of this subparagraph, "land-based aquaculture facilities" means facilities that are not located in the coastal waters of the State but are located in the State and are used for aquaculture of marine or freshwater organisms." (The underlining is in the original text.)

Posted by: Eileen M. Wolper | Apr 26, 2021 14:37

Regulatory Fallacy. Look it up.



Posted by: Jacki Cassida | Apr 25, 2021 15:26

We're a saga! I love it. (noun: a long story of heroic achievement). Thank you!

Although the well-reviewed decision to issue NAF permits was disappointing to those who oppose our project, that doesn't make the EPA a fallacy. Nor is the City of Belfast's planning board. Nor is the Army Corps of Engineers. While there are corporations out there that need to address some serious issues, NAF is not one of them.

Posted by: Eileen M. Wolper | Apr 25, 2021 14:19

Please take a look at CELDF 's website for some eye opening information pertaining to Corporations. (Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund).Please support  the work of Upstream Watch and Friends of Harriet H. Hartley. Please know there is more to the Nordic Aquafarm saga than appears on the Belfast Facebook site. Thank you.


Posted by: Jacki Cassida | Apr 23, 2021 17:19

Note: LD 1473 (proposed by Sen. Rosen of Hancock County) is a bill to add land-based aquaculture facilities to the buildings that are not subject to the Maine Uniform Building and Energy Code. Currently, those include buildings that house livestock or harvested crops.


Posted by: Jacki Cassida | Apr 23, 2021 15:23

We have the predictable blitz of anti-Nordic letters, but Neighbors, here's the thing- Nordic Aquafarms has nothing to do with the LD 1473. It could be rejected and not affect operations for our future facility. Nordic has consistently progressed forward on a path of compliance, and NAF is demonstrating great results internationally with a clean production record in the first two years of operation. (Check out our Facebook page!) The suppositions and falsehoods are a bit banal by this point, and we're looking forward to dispersing those remaining fears and concerns. Eileen, is that you in the chicken suit on the corner on Thursdays? It's adorable- reminds me of Chicken Little and "the sky is falling!" It's not though, and please don't stop celebrating Earth Day.

Team Nordic is looking forward to seeing everybody out and about on May 8th for the Keeping Belfast, Maine Beautiful clean up day! Be well, everybody.

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