I believe that the Belfast city councilors have the best intentions regarding the Nordic Aquafarms agreement. The increased tax revenue could be used for many improvements. However, I would rather see this tax revenue come from a company that isn’t going to use enormous amounts of water, and one that is using proven technology. If a solar farm were proposed for that area, I’d be thrilled, it’s a win-win. If Mathews Brothers wanted to expand, I’d be all for it. If the discussion was about an innovative new approach like GreenWave — an ocean farmer and fisherman-run organization dedicated to economic growth that creates jobs, mitigates climate change and grows healthy food for local communities, that’s the kind of new technology that is a perfect fit for Belfast.

Since Nordic Aquafarms has never succeeded at growing adult salmon on land, all of their claims are based on theories, including the amount of water being used, the amount of tax revenue the city will get, and the quality and quantity of effluent that will be discarded into the bay. Even if everything they’re stating about being environmentally friendly is true, they can still sell the facility to a different company that can choose to maximize profit over environmental concerns.

The Belfast city councilors are gambling with our tax dollars, the Little River watershed, and the health of Penobscot Bay, in hopes that the fish factory will succeed and bring in higher tax revenues. If you add the unknown factors climate change is bringing, this becomes an even bigger gamble. “People are starting to run out of water,” said Ryan Gordon, hydrogeologist with the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry in a Bangor Daily News article from August 2018. He continues to say: “It’s going to affect more people as drought [conditions] for the third summer in a row cover a lot of the state. The long-term effect is going to be on the groundwater. That is one of the slowest places where water is replaced.”

Our city planners are smart, dedicated people, and I think they can find less risky ways to help Belfast grow.

Sally Brophy, Belfast