Nordic Aquafarms´ RAS project in Belfast, Maine becomes first large-scale, land-based RAS project to be fully permitted in New England
• Army Corps of Engineers permit obtained by NAF
• All other state and local permits have been obtained in 2020
• NAF is ready to proceed with final engineering and construction planning
Nordic Aquafarms Inc (NAF) has obtained the Army Corps of Engineers permit and is now ready to move into the final stages of engineering and construction planning for its facility in Maine. “It has been a long and comprehensive process and we would like to thank all the hardworking permitting authorities that have been involved. They have dotted every I and crossed every T – the permits are robust. We are now the first fully permitted larger RAS project in Maine, and the most centrally located one”, says Erik Heim, President of Nordic Aquafarms Inc.
There are still outstanding appeals on some of NAF´s permits in Maine. “We have assessed those thoroughly and are very comfortable with the risk. We won every argument against local opponents and their misinformation in the permitting process. We look forward to moving ahead in short order”, says Heim. “We are successfully operating three RAS farms in Scandinavia with high quality products in the market, and without any major incidents. We are excited to move forward in Maine”, says Bernt-Olav Roettingsnes, CEO of Nordic Aquafarms Group in Norway. “We have a proven track-record in operations and an in-house RAS engineering division in Denmark that has delivered many large-scale facilities currently operating around the world”, Roettingsnes says.
Resolution of intertidal dispute is imminent
Another issue of attention has been a legal obstruction case from a small group of local opponents. One neighbor, who is a known opponent, sued his neighbors for ownership of the intertidal area in front of all their upland properties. NAF has an easement for pipes through the one of these properties.
On Tuesday August 3rd the City Council in Belfast voted 5-0 to authorize posting of a notice of intent to exercise eminent domain to clear up any purported title ambiguities in the intertidal area.
The development of NAF´s Belfast facility will bring economic development and good paying jobs to Belfast, Maine. It will bring high quality fish to the east coast market at a much lower carbon footprint than imported fish. It will provide substantial benefits to the local Water District and the community, including a new waterfront park by the ocean granted to the city by NAF. NAF’s project has strong community and political support with substantial benefits flowing to Belfast and its residents.
NAF has positioned itself on both US coastlines – in Maine and California. In California, permitting is progressing well with the release of the Environmental Impact Report expected shortly. Both of NAF´s locations were carefully selected as the best possible locations for development of NAF´s US facilities. Both projects are placed in areas with access to clean, cold seawater, to fresh water and in communities that are attractive to live in for our future employees. The California location is also close to a large market, but in an area that is less impacted by wildfires and the severe drought on the west coast.