Maine municipality mulls eminent domain for Nordic Aquafarms RAS project
The City of Belfast, Maine is leaning towards implementing eminent domain laws to assist Nordic Aquafarms’ plans for gaining access to a disputed parcel of land in Penobscot Bay.
The Norwegian aquaculture company intends to build a $500 million recirculating aquaculture system (RAS) facility in Belfast to raise some 33,000 metric tons of Atlantic salmon annually. The facility will also create jobs on the community.
The company intends to place intake and outfall to an from the Penobscot Bay. The pipes will have to go through a disputed stretch of intertidal mudflat.
Nordic Aquafarms has earlier presented the city documents indicating that it had purchased the land from Richard and Janet Eckrote. There is currently an ensuing court battle over the issue as plaintiffs Jeffrey Mabee, Judith Grace and the Friends of the Harriet L. Hartley Conservation Area have argued in court that the Eckrotes are not the real owners of the mudflats.
Nordic Aquafarms’ RAS project has been opposed by some groups in the community who are worried about environmental issues that the facility would raise.
Last week, city councillors voted to issue a “Notice of Intent to Condemn” the real property interests in the disputed land. This was meant to clear the deed on the property and allow City of Belfast to initiate an eminent domain action to move the Nordic Aquafarm project forward, according to the Bangalore Daily News.
However, it is expected that opponents of the RAS project could sue the city if it moves forward with an eminent domain action, the Bangalore Daily News reported.