On December 15, 2020, The Free Press published a letter from me about a Belfast Water District demand that I pay $1,500 for the district to process 91 pages of district emails regarding the proposed Nordic Aquafarms industrial fish farm, emails I had requested under the Maine Freedom of Access Act.

In 2018 the City of Belfast processed scores of pages of Nordic-related emails for free, and now Governor Mills’ office has done its part to further reveal the absurdity of the Water District’s demand. On February 5, the governor’s office sent me — for free — 127 pages of Nordic-related emails. That’s fully 40% more than what I have requested from the Belfast Water District.

In a November 4, 2020, email, Governor Mills Special Assistant Tim Feeley estimated my FOAA processing cost at $45, but the charge was later waived. Had the $45 charge held, that would have been 35 cents a page. And the Belfast Water District wants $1,500 for 91 pages. That’s $16.48 a page. That’s 47 times as much, per page.

As I asked in the December 15 letter, what is the Water District hiding with its wildly excessive demands? The Belfast Water District is a public entity — it should start acting like one.

Lawrence Reichard, Belfast