Kingfish – Setting the record straight? Really?

When I was a child growing up, I often watched a TV program called “It’s Not What You Say That Counts, It’s What You Don’t Say.” A recent Guest Voice article by Kingfish (KF) seems to echo the same approach. While the article emphasizes the possible misinformation from opponents, let’s look at a few facts. The fresh water use projected, according to the Kingfish “Near-And-Far-Field Discharge” modeling report attachment 4, shows that KF will inject 107 gallons per minute (gpm) of fresh water into their system. However, it seems that the well capacity on their purchased property can only support 35 gpm, which may limit their fresh water use – good citizen or victim of well pressure?

Kingfish reports that the background concentration of Total Nitrogen (TN) is 0.27 mg/L, but it appears that this figure came from a survey done by MDEP in 2010. Applying a 12-year old concentration value as a substitute for fresh and accurate on-site readings is extremely poor science science and does raise red flags.

The near field mixing model, CORMIX, is known to perform poorly near coastlines and tidal estuaries, yet was used by KF for their MEPDES (Discharge Permit). This kind of science would be like testing for strep throat with an eye exam.

Velocity data on Chandler Bay currents that KF collected from the ADCP should have included error estimates. Data is normally quantified to verify how the model is performing. This was not done, rendering the velocity data useless;

No monitoring and action plan was created for the MEPDES, which is an essential component of any permitted facility, and is an unacceptable omission in the Kingfish proposal.

This project will dump more than twice the amount of Total Nitrogen than is dumped by the city of Portland into Casco Bay and more than 3 times the accepted MDEP TN threshold. How could this, in any way, be good for Chandler Bay?

KF will state that it’s the MDEP’s responsibility for these shortcomings and they are not wrong. Maine’s lax regulations are part of the reason we are so attractive for foreign investors with deep pockets.

Early documents indicated that Kingfish Maine will create 100 jobs – a statement directly from the CEO of Kingfish Zeeland (O. Maiman). More recently, the number of jobs is now at 70 according to a report used by the Department of Economic and Community Development to justify exceeding the MDEP standards for Total Nitrogen (TN) in the effluent. My request for estimated positions and jobs from KF has been denied.

As for the sterilization comment made – the UV light sterilizes (read kills) everything that passes through the pipe. But, consider this: the pipe is 4 feet in diameter and the water is moving at 324 gallons per second. Think about this – 324 gallon milk jugs passing by EACH SECOND. Is the UV coverage and penetration enough to kill everything in the pipe such as lobster larvae, fin-fish viruses and organisms critical to marine ecosystem of Chandler Bay? I suppose the answer is moot because it is clear that, regardless, we have a lose/lose situation.

We, the people of Maine, are constantly facing the reality that our State chooses to support economic development at the expense of environmental integrity, which in the end will cost us more jobs than we will gain. It doesn’t make sense at all to favor a foreign corporation that is beholden to its stockholders over our heritage industries. It is a shame that people from both sides of this argument can’t sit down together and put all of the cards on the table and rationally discuss FACTS. But transparency does not appear to be a strong suit for corporations. The money at stake for Kingfish is considerable, but why do large amounts of money seem to be directly proportional to lack of transparency? Kingfish writes letters that can contradict some statements from the opponents, but they fail to mention that there are many other facts that cast a rather dark shadow over their project. Remember – “It’s what you don’t say that counts.”

Richard Aishton
Machias Valley News Observer
April 20, 2022