The Board of Environmental Safety voted Thursday to uphold state approvals of a proposal to construct a large-scale, land-based fish farm in Jonesport.
The Sierra Membership of Maine filed an attraction final December in search of to overturn the approval by Maine Division of Environmental Safety for Kingfish Maine to put in influx and outflow pipes from Chandler Bay in a wetland the place it plans to construct on Dun Garvan Highway.
The Roque Island Gardner Homestead Company, a family-owned entity with greater than 100 members that owns Roque Island, which is sort of two miles away from the undertaking website, joined within the attraction. So did Jap Maine Conservation Initiative, which is intently affiliated with the homestead company.
The teams argued that Kingfish, which is in search of to develop a 94-acre property that fronts on Chandler Bay, supplied “misguided assumptions and outdated data” to DEP when it utilized for approval to disturb a wetland to put in the pipes, mentioned Elizabeth Boepple, an lawyer who represents the Roque Island homeowners. Sally Mills, one other lawyer representing the appellants, argued that the state didn’t do sufficient to contemplate the influence on eelgrass beds within the bay earlier than it issued the allow.
“Eelgrass notoriously strikes round,” Mills mentioned concerning the aquatic plant’s tendency to shift places from one 12 months to the following. “Their evaluation is okay so far as it goes, nevertheless it doesn’t go far sufficient.”
Critics of the proposal have mentioned handled water that may be discharged into the bay from the fish farm would have excessive quantities of nitrogen, which might harm eelgrass and different marine life. Kingfish and state officers have mentioned the nitrogen ranges will probably be inside allowable limits and isn’t anticipated to have a major influence on the bay’s water high quality.
Rachael Becker McEntee, an lawyer representing Kingfish, instructed the board that the division’s determination to permit Kingfish to put in the pipes via the wetland was “affordable.” She mentioned that Kingfish will probably be required to conduct ongoing monitoring of water it discharges into the bay to ensure nitrogen ranges and different components resembling temperature are throughout the allowable limits.
“There gained’t be impacts on these eelgrass beds from Kingfish’s operations,” she mentioned.
Board member Babra Vickery appeared to specific some sympathy with the appellants about how a lot testing and evaluation must be required when improvement purposes are submitted to DEP. She mentioned, for instance, that the state doesn’t require candidates to evaluate the general carbon footprint that their initiatives could have when accomplished.
“When is the state of Maine going to begin requiring that?” Vickery mentioned. “Wouldn’t that be a good suggestion?”
Mark Draper, one other member of the board, mentioned that he believes the division made the suitable determination when it granted Kingfish a allow below the Pure Assets Safety Act to put in the water influx and outflow pipes via the wetland. He mentioned the corporate’s utility meets the requirements required by state and federal legislation.
“There are guidelines,” Draper mentioned. “We will’t arbitrarily apply them in a single case and never apply them in one other.”
Kingfish officers have mentioned the fish farm, as soon as constructed, would make use of 70 folks onsite and produce round 13 million kilos of yellowtail every year.
Final summer time, the Sierra Membership of Maine appealed a call by the state to situation Kingfish a wastewater discharge allow, however that attraction later was dismissed by the board. The membership lacked correct standing to attraction that call and, below division guidelines, the discharge allow was not topic to assessment by the board, state officers mentioned.
With the board’s denial Thursday of the newest attraction, the final allow Kingfish must receive to begin building is an area constructing allow from the city of Jonesport. The city’s planning board has begun reviewing that undertaking and, after reviewing elements of it on Tuesday evening, is predicted to complete reviewing it after which to vote on it within the subsequent month or so.