Kingfish: It’s Not Good

I live in Roque Bluffs, just around the corner from Jonesport. I have been lobstering for 30 years. I also have served my town for the last 20 years on the selectboard, and this year, I became chair. I am deeply concerned about the Kingfish project in Jonesport for a number of reasons. I attended the last two hearings and am amazed at how little thought has been given to how much damage the 1580 pounds of nitrogen into the bay daily will do to damage Chandler Bay. Why the state doesn’t do more to figure out how much of that pollution will affect other towns – the lobstering industry, clamming and more is a noxious mystery. As I said, I live around the corner, and no one has asked the opinion of the lobstering community that lives next door what they think because the state must not understand that pollution can travel and is not stopped by some invisible boundary.

Let’s take a look at the permit the state has given Kingfish. It’s Swiss cheese. Sentiments like it’s okay to degrade the water for jobs at the fish factory. I wonder if it’s okay to kill lobster jobs for fish factory jobs. Take a good look at the testing that’s been done – it’s not good. The testing is close to the discharge pipe, and there is no testing to see where these plumes could go. The state’s oversight in the permitting process is disgustingly weak. History is a great teacher. Look at how it’s gone when it comes to big industry and Maine waters. Paper mills polluted waters, as did the sardine canning companies. In fact, we can attribute some of our current pollution to that industry. After the canning companies closed, we didn’t have any red tide, except two times in 40 years, the last time was in Beals Island, when the Canadians brought over mussels, clean them, and then infected the whole ecosystem from Beals to Cutler, so I am very concerned about the discharge system, in every way!!!

How about Holtrachem in Orrington that processed chemicals and dumped them into our waters, creating a methyl mercury situation that endangers lobsters? I know that Kingfish renamed itself to Kingfish Maine, but its headquarters is in the Netherlands – which last time I checked was far from Jonesport, far from Maine, far from the U.S. If something does go wrong with Kingfish, Kingfish will need to answer to its wealthy investors. Does anyone really think that the people of Jonesport, Roques Bluff, Jonesboro, Addison, or any other town will be top of mind? No one bothered to check with us when this project was proposed and then permitted by the state. As a member of a neighboring selectboard, I am glad that the Jonesport planning has an opportunity to reject this project. Relying on the state to help us is a mistake. It could cost all of us the coast we depend on to make a living.

Owen Moody
Roque Bluffs
Machias Valley News Observer, September 14, 2022