Maine’s Department of Environmental Protection has suspended two permits held by Nordic Aquafarms for its recirculating aquaculture system (RAS) project.
In a ruling handed down on June 21, Melanie Loyzim, commission of the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) of Maine, suspended the company’s Site Location of Development Law and Natural Resources Protection Act Permit and its Air Emissions License for the facility. Both permits are vital for the construction of a RAS facility in Belfast, Maine. The suspension orders do not cover Nordic Aquafarms’s Maine Pollutant Discharge Elimination System Permit.
With these suspensions, no construction may proceed, no alteration of the site may occur, and no permitted equipment may be installed or operated during the license suspension, according to the order.
Nordic Aquafarms’s proposed land-based salmon farm, which includes a stretch of intertidal land to run the intake and outfall pipes for the facility to and from Penobscot Bay, has encountered multiple legal hurdles in recent years. The company had hoped to begin production in 2020. Environmental groups and opponents of the project, dispute the aquaculture company’s contention that it has purchased the intertidal lands.
But in April, the company itself had also requested the Maine DEP to pause its permit deadlines for the project. The company suspension of the permits to allow the court “to fully adjudicate the issues raised by project opponents without allowing the delay caused by the endless litigation to run the clock on the permits,” Nordic Aquafarms CEO Brenda Chandler said in an earlier press release.
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