Opponents urge city to “reset” process on $150 million land-based salmon farm in Maine

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They want to “restart,” “reset,” and “press the reset button.”

A public hearing Aug. 15 on zoning changes for the proposed development drew a crowd of 150 people, including many opponents of Nordic Aquafarm’s plan to build a $150 million salmon farm in Belfast, Maine, USA.

Residents of a proposed indoor project have asked city officials to “restart,” “reset,” and “press the reset button” on the process that paved the way for the facility as reported in the Republican Journal.

Emotions flared at the public hearing in response to a lawsuit by two Belfast (Maine, USA) residents, Ellie Daniels and Donna Broderick, who allege the City Council skipped steps in a rush to approve zoning changes to Nordic Aquafarms. Additional opponents focused on the danger to groundwater supplies as well as the effect of discharged wastewater.

One resident Ethan Hughes said: “What would we rather have, money or water?” he asked. “Nordic Aquafarms knows freshwater is scarce. They’re not dumb. They’re a multimillion-dollar company. They’re coming to Waldo County to get our fresh water … When we are thirsty and need to grow food, we will realise money is useless.”

The Planning Board postponed deliberations until their next regular meeting 6 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 22.

The facility will be be one of the largest land-based aquaculture facilities in the world and is projected to produce 33 million tons of salmon. CEO of land-based salmon farmer, Erik Heim, hopes to start construction in 2019, with “first-fish” ready by 2020.