Editor's note: This letter has been updated to remove an inaccurate description of the qualifications of a Nordic Aquafarms employee. The mistake was brought to our attention by the author after the letter was published.

As an intervenor in the state Board of Environmental Protection (BEP) hearing on Nordic Aquafarms’ discharge permit, I am dismayed that the BEP won’t allow testimony on Nordic’s competence or truthfulness, as these issues go to the heart of Nordic’s application. In deciding on Nordic’s permit, the BEP is relying heavily on information submitted by Nordic, and if that information is inaccurate and/or Nordic is incapable of competent project performance, then the entire BEP process is fatally flawed. And there is ample reason for concern on both issues.

Nordic’s fabrications and misrepresentations are many. Nordic knowingly withheld from the state key right, title and interest (RTI) information that casts considerable doubt on the company’s claims of RTI for its intake and effluent discharge pipes. For two years — and to this day — Nordic’s website has misrepresented the length of its discharge pipe. Nordic has falsely claimed its project wouldn’t pollute. Nordic has falsely claimed its fish-farm model is the most efficient way to produce protein. Nordic has falsely claimed humans don’t consume the small “forage” fish that go into industrial fishmeal. Nordic even told the Legislature, falsely, that fish can’t escape from land-based fish farms, a claim Nordic’s own website contradicts. Nordic told its Fredrikstad, Norway, neighbors its Fredrikstad plant would be silent, and only moved to abate the plant’s considerable noise after a plant neighbor wrote a letter to The Republican Journal complaining about the noise.

Unfortunately, Nordic’s competence is equally suspect. Construction of its Fredrikstad plant was long delayed because Nordic failed to asses the ability of subsoil to sustain the weight of its buildings. This failure by Nordic has led to lawsuits between Nordic and its Danish construction contractor. And now a similar scenario is unfolding in Belfast. Nordic said its Belfast site was ideal, but Nordic now says it must scrape off and remove at least 14,000 truckloads of earth.

Danish aquaculture expert Bent Urup, who designed and built Nordic’s two plants in Denmark, told me Nordic’s staff is incapable of running the very complex plant Nordic has proposed for Belfast.

Clearly Nordic has substantial credibility and competence issues and these issues should be addressed before the BEP decides whether to allow Nordic to pollute our bay, use vast amounts of our fresh water, desecrate the Little River Trail and destroy dozens of acres of woods, wetlands and wildlife habitat.

Lawrence Reichard, Belfast