Maine DEP sets lower standards

The Maine Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) recently approved a Discharge Permit to Kingfish, a proposed huge land-based fish farm in Jonesport, which could result in excessive amounts of nitrogen entering Machias Bay on a daily basis.

A June 10 article in the Cape Cod Times newspaper reports the Massachusetts DEP is implementing new septic tank laws in watershed areas requiring special nitrogen removal apparatus to reduce the amounts of nitrogen entering wetland/watershed areas due to its harm.

Real economic harm to tourism, property values, and water degradation impacting fishing, clamming/shellfish, and recreation is very possible. Excessive nitrogen harms the water quality by increasing algal growth which kills seaweed on the ocean floor, an important marine incubator for fish and shellfish. This clouds the water, reducing light and reducing photosynthesis.

The MA DEP feels reducing nitrogen is critical to implementing the Federal Clean Waters Act.

Why isn’t Maine DEP following the same Standards to Protect and Implement the Clean Waters Act?

I believe this Act would not allow known degradation of water quality which is predicted with Kingfish discharge. The Maine DEP told me they will have another review of the kingfish discharge in five years.
If our waters are polluted by then, our seaweed killed off, our tourism reduced, lower fish catch – property values reduced, it’s too late.
Kingfish leaves, and we live with the mess.

I vote the Maine DEP Discharge Permit for Kingfish be put on hold until a Federal DEP review of all facts and details on Kingfish discharge and its impact on Machias Bay is completed.

We cannot and should not risk our pristine natural resources for the promise of economic growth. This could result in just the opposite.
I live on Cape Cod and have owned our home along the coast of Maine since 1985.

Too often, I have seen proposals of industry come to Downeast Maine which was a jewel with beauty and purity. I then see outfall pipes draining sewage into these clean waters from towns and prisons.

Transfer station acceptance from across state lines, to bury and pollute, sure, the people in rural Maine will not speak out, they think.

Our government has polluted groundwater in Downeast Maine and never cleaned the site.

The state of Maine runs a dump site in Orono for hazardous waste – huge amounts of fish waste/sludge from processing the Kingfish processing plant in Jonesport will truck across Orono to dump their waste.

Please do not accept the insufficient study of possible long-range harm to this beautiful part of Maine.

Tourism will be our main industry, with the possibility of free college from the state of Maine for young people taking engineering, computer, and health professional professions (as I was told by the Attorney General’s Office), clean well-paying industries and jobs will come.

If you agree with me, please call or write the Environmental Protection Agency in Washington DC and say we need an outside review – the Clean Waters Act is in question in Jonesport.

Paula Aschettino
Cape Cod and Machiasport
June 15, 2022
Machias Valley News Observer