Things are moving very quickly for us after the Maine Supreme Court ruled in our favor for the TRI case. First, a letter written by Susie O'Keeffe and Erin Bachmeier was published in the Portland Press Herald. This piece is terrific, and I encourage you to share the story with as many people as possible to help others understand why factory fish farms are a terrible idea!
Second, I'd like to share the latest legal developments in our fight to protect the Penobscot Bay and Little River. The fight continues, but our fantastic legal team is working overtime to build on our positive momentum. Please see below to learn more, and if you're able to help support our effort, please consider donating to our cause.
Actions Taken on Permits Issued by the Board of Environmental Protection
Letter sent to Maine Law Court asking that they revoke Nordic’s permits.
The assistant attorney general argued to the Maine Law Court that Nordic need only have had sufficient TRI during the application process and that once the permits were issued they remain valid despite Nordic never having TRI in the intertidal zone. Our lead attorney, David Losee, sent a letter the Law Court correcting this absurd claim. The letter reads: “Given the Law Court’s February 16, 2023 decision in Mabee, et al. v. Nordic Aquafarms Inc. (2023 Me 15), it has now been determined that Nordic has no right, title and interest in the intertidal land for its discharge pipes, as the Eckrotes had no basis to grant Nordic any easement in the intertidal land. While Upstream has presented a broad range of arguments in its appeal for revoking the state permits, Nordic’s lack of right, title and interest in the intertidal land compels a finding that the permits should be revoked ab initio.” (For those of us who are not lawyers, “ab initio” simple means “from the beginning”. ) Attorney Losee’s entire letter can be read here.
Petition filed on behalf of Upstream asking the DEP Commissioner Melanie Loyzim to revoke Nordic’s permits
Attorney Lossee filed this petition to revoke Nordic’s permits based on two criteria:
The licensee has obtained a license by misrepresenting or failing to disclose fully all relevant facts;
There has been a change in condition or circumstances that requires revocation or suspension of [Nordic’s] license[s].
The full petition can be read here.
Memo Filed accompanying the petition detailing how Nordic and the Eckrotes knowingly misled the DEP and the people of Maine
Attorney Lossee concludes the memo by saying: “Because of the Nordic/Eckrote deceit the BEP spent countless hours with staff managing thousands of pages of application material and pre-filed testimony, conducting a 4-day contested hearing, addressing the post hearing briefs and motions, preparing draft permits, receiving and considering comments on those permits, and issuing final permits, not to mention assisting the Assistant Attorney General to defend the Appeal from the award of those permits, and the Office of the Attorney General has responded to the appeals, researched and prepared briefs and prepared arguments. None of this work was necessary. It occurred, and undermanned DEP staffers worked hard, and Maine taxpayers paid for it in lieu of more worthy projects, because Nordic and the Eckrotes knowingly and willfully deceived the DEP and BEP.” The full memo can be read here.
Nordic lost its Submerged Lands Lease
The Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry took the initiative and revoked Nordic’s submerged lands lease they need for their proposed pipelines. However, the assistant attorney general for the agency noted that the issue may be revisited should the city be successful in their eminent domain taking. As an interesting side note, since the February 16 ruling by the Law Court on the intertidal ownership, Nordic’s attorneys have been completely silent. There has been no response by Nordic’s attorneys to any of the recent developments. This is completely unprecedented. We do not know what this means, but we’re hopeful that perhaps Nordic has finally realized that their ill-conceived plan that has caused our community so much strife, and cost so much money, should be abandoned. Time will tell. Killing these permits is crucial. While we are extremely confident that the city will not be successful in their attempt to take land by eminent domain, we are concerned that there is another Nordic-like company waiting in the wings to buy and utilize these permits for a project that could be even worse for the environment.
We will continue to send updates as things evolve. We are, as always, incredibly grateful to everyone. Please do help us if you can. Any amount is deeply appreciated! The lawyers at Curtis Thaxter and David Losse are incredibly generous with us, but we still have work to do to complete this effort once and for all! Thank you! Amy Grant President Upstream Watch