Maine DEP denies rights of citizens

The Maine citizens and visitors deserve careful review of all possible harm to their oceans to protect livelihood, environment, and enjoyment.

The Sierra Club of Maine recently submitted in a timely manner an Appeal to the DEP’S Permit for Kingfish Maine, a land growing Yellowtail Fish Farm, to discharge 28.7 million gallons per day of treated wastewater into Chandler Bay in Jonesport. This project will pump 19,812 gallons of seawater per minute from Chandler Bay by two intake pipes. They will also pump 140 gallons per minute of fresh water from land wells on site. Will this have an effect on water tables in the area? High electric power consumption will be necessary also.

Sierra Club’s Appeal believes the effect of the large untreated discharge water containing fish feces, urine, feed, high amounts of nitrogen, cleaning chemicals, phosphates, virus IPNV, large amounts of sterilized water, changing the PH of the ocean and increase in sea temperature as well as degradation of water quality will have detrimental impact on important ocean species, eelgrass which is most important to infant marine life, harm Maine coastline in the immediate area as well as beyond and affect everyone in Maine who deserves clean waters especially the lobster and fishing industry and people. Tourism will always be Maine’s larges industry in coastal areas.

This discharge permit breaks all standards set up in the “Maine Won’t Wait, A Four Year Plan for Climate Action.”

The DEP Missions and Strategic Planning and Quality Management Plan under Maine Law 2021 states it shall “prevent, abate and control the pollution of the air, water and land and preserve, improve and prevent diminution of the natural environment of the State”.

The DEP Law states “the individuals served by the implementation of Maine Quality Management Planning and all other resulting quality efforts include: our agency’s staff, Maine citizens and businesses, and non-governmental interest groups; federal, state and local government.”

Sierra Club is a nongovernmental interest group.

The Maine DEP “appeal board,” not one member having any expertise or background in Oceanography, Marine life, Marine Biology, Chemical and Physical properties of the oceans or their ecosystems (very concerning considering the important power of the “Board” and hundreds of miles of coastline in Maine and ocean impacts) dismissed the Sierra Club Appeal based that Sierra “cannot show a person whose property, pecuniary, or personal rights would be adversely and directly affected by the wastewater discharge into Chandler Bay in a manner greater than the harm it alleges will be experienced by the public at large.”

Wow! That is a statement! So long as all the public has a negative impact, you cannot have your appeal reviewed. The Sierra Club are the citizens who went to their group to financially and scientifically request the DEP make minor revisions to the permit in order to significantly decrease or eliminate an environmental impact, whereby the applicant would separate the heat transfer water from the production water in order that the production water may be treated with advanced technology to achieve zero effluent discharge. This modification would address the degradation due to the nitrogen discharge but also the pH change and discharge of water containing IPNV virus carried by Yellowtail.

Sierra also wants the DEP to come up with a plan on how they will comply with degradation of water quality as it relates to eelgrass and coastal conservation goals set out in “Maine Won’t Wait”.

The Sierra Club Appeal dismissal should be overthrown and the Sierra Club Appeal advanced.

Why is the state breaking its own rules and not allowing these important findings addressed?

When the State DEP has rules which require they must review “alternative methods” which could prevent the need to lower standards and lower water quality, why did the DEP not require Kingfish to present “Alternative Technology” to reduce or eliminate the disastrous impact this project could have on our Oceans and Marine life?

Please write the Commissioner of the DEP:
Melanie Loyzim
Department of Environmental Protection
17 State House Station
28 Tyson Dr.
Augusta, ME 04333.
Tell her you insist on having the Sierra Club appeal heard.

Paula Aschettino, Machiasport
Machias Valley News Observer
March 23, 2022