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Piping change leads to questions over Nordic lease application

Opponents seek compensation for 'unnecessary expense'
By Kendra Caruso | Nov 27, 2019

Belfast — Nordic Aquafarms’ lease application with the Bureau of Parks and Lands to run pipelines into the bay for its land-based fish farm hit a snag when the company changed its piping plan in late August, according to project opponents and the state.

Opponents of the fish farm have filed a motion in Superior Court to remand the application to Parks and Lands so Nordic can amend its application. They are also seeking unspecified monetary compensation from Nordic for their expenses in submitting an appeal to the decision that was based upon the previous piping plan, and the bureau's expenses in reviewing the appeal.

Kim Ervin Tucker, attorney for Jeffrey Mabee, Judith Grace and the Maine Lobstering Union, argues that because Nordic changed its piping plans and did not submit an amendment to Parks and Lands, its application is incomplete.

She said Nordic knew about the material change and withheld it from the intervenors and Parks and Lands. Because the company failed to mention the change, the intervenors and the bureau incurred unnecessary costs, she said.

Tucker said the Board of Environmental Protection cannot review Nordic’s application because Nordic does not have title, right and interest in the land the pipes must cross. Tucker submitted a request that the BEP stop its review of the application.

Cynthia Bertocci of the BEP issued an email statement saying the request is under review.

Nordic Project Manager John Hessler said the company did not know it was required to file an amendment. Because the new piping plan does not exceed the 40-foot boundary allocated in the application, it thought the change did not need to be reviewed by Parks and Lands.

Carol DiBello, formerly on the staff of the Bureau of Parks and Lands, and now a consultant to the bureau, did not specifically say whether Nordic’s application is incomplete, but did say the bureau is expecting an amendment to the application. She has been in contact with Nordic and is waiting for the court to remand the lease application to the department before reviewing the amendment.

When that happens, there is typically a 30-day period for written public comment, DiBello said; then it releases its preliminary findings. The bureau follows that up with another 30-day public comment period before releasing its final decision.

Nordic’s previous piping plan surrounded the pipes with rocks, then secured the whole with a steel mattress. The new plan leaves the pipes exposed and elevated from the seafloor by 1 foot with an anchor and stakes every 15 feet to secure them to the bay floor.

The Department of Environmental Protection requested that Nordic change from a steel curtain to exposed pipes so sea life can move freely under the pipes, according to Hessler.

Tucker and DiBello said they expect the court to remand the application to Parks and Lands. DiBello said she does not expect this to delay Nordic’s construction timeline, because the BEP can review the application at the same time Parks and Lands is doing its application review.

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Comments (5)
Posted by: Kenneth W Hall | Nov 28, 2019 10:22

They're not coming.  They are just like DCP, and will just up and leave because the numbers don't work.   Capital investment vs profits on a "live" product do not equal the risk.   Just like propane price vs capital investment numbers don't work.  When the numbers don't work, they don't work.  Assess the risk of a perishable product.....would you make the $500,000,000 investment on one mistake could ruin a years worth of product?   Seriously!


I want the fish plant to come in I REALLY DO.  I want NA to create jobs, but the risk vs reward is way to high.  What happens when the intake line chokes off with muscles?  Ever wonder why Youngs Lobster pound has two intake lines?  What happens when one human mistake occurs.  Humans still make mistakes right?  I don't know about "growing" fish in a tank, but I have had decades of experience with lobsters(live product) and what happens when natural occurrences in Penobscot Bay kill every single one!  Salinity of the Bay counts, accidents of something dropped or spilled into a tank, these things really happen.


These guys are professionals and I am sure they know how to grow fish.  The question to the hedge fund investors is, are the monies risked really worth loosing on a perishable product?

Posted by: Abigail The Kermit Nickerson School | Nov 28, 2019 04:08


Posted by: Abigail The Kermit Nickerson School | Nov 28, 2019 04:06

Give it up already. Progress is coming.


Posted by: Kenneth W Hall | Nov 27, 2019 22:34

What other rules do they not know?   At what point does one begin to wonder????

Posted by: Ralph Stanley | Nov 27, 2019 19:51

They did not know they needed to file an amendment? How did that come about? Seriously.

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