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'Disgraceful'

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Editor:

In your Aug. 22 article on the appeal of the Humboldt County Planning Commission's environmental review of Nordic Aquafarms' proposed Samoa Penninsula industrial fish farm, you cite several reasons for the appeal ("Fishing Association, Environmental Groups Appeal Fish Farm EIR Certification").

You cite the under-calculation of greenhouse gas emissions by the omission of the quite considerable carbon footprint of the manufacture and transport of industrial fishmeal.

A major ingredient of industrial fishmeal is soy, and much of that soy comes from Brazil, where the Amazon rainforest is being torched to clear land for soy production — a carbon and climate disaster. Not to mention the carbon footprint of transporting soy and fishmeal from South America, Asia and Africa.

The article cites effects on local salmonid fisheries, including exposure to disease. Here in Maine, Nordic first said fish could escape from land-based fish farms — thus risking the spread of disease — but now Nordic says they can't, despite large-scale escapes from land-based fish farms in Norway and New Brunswick, Canada.

And there are other risks to wild fish. Nordic's daily discharge of 7.7 million gallons of effluent will likely attract sea lice, which will likely attach to passing wild fish, potentially devastating local fish populations.

Finally, the article cites the failure to complete required scientific studies. Here in Maine, the Maine Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has simply refused to enforce legally prescribed permit application requirements and, like in Humboldt County, this abject breach of duty has been one of the grounds for appeal of Nordic's DEP permit.

This failure to enforce environmental laws — by the very agencies charged with enforcing those laws — is disgraceful and I fully support the groups in Humboldt County and here in Maine that are fighting this governmental failure of duty.

Lawrence Reichard, Belfast, Maine

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