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Lamoine to seek intervenor status

March 22, 2022

Ellsworth American

LAMOINE — Voters at Town Meeting March 16 authorized the Lamoine Select Board to seek intervenor status in the permitting process for American Aquafarms’ proposed Frenchman Bay salmon farm.

According to Select Board member Kathleen Rybarz, about 60 people attended the annual Town Meeting and all but five voted to intervene in the proposal by American Aquafarms and its Norwegian investors to raise salmon at two 60-acre sites northwest of Long Porcupine Island and northeast of Bald Rock Ledge. Fifteen pens are planned for each site.

“This was a vote in support of our lobstermen and women who fish out of Lamoine State Park,” said Rybarz, who is also president of Friends of Frenchman Bay, a member of the Frenchman Bay United coalition that is opposed to the project. “American Aquafarms threatens local jobs in fishing and tourism. Its unprecedented levels of air, water, noise and light pollution will destroy the natural environment and quality of life that draws so many people to this area.”

Entities or individuals may seek intervenor status if a proposed lease will “substantially and directly” affect them, according to the Maine Department of Marine Resources. “In general, intervenors may provide testimony and present witnesses during the public hearing,” according to the DMR website. “Intervenors may also be able to comment on the draft decision.” Individuals do not need to be intervenors to provide testimony at a public hearing.

Lamoine joins the towns of Bar Harbor and Sorrento, which last year also voted to seek intervenor status. The Hancock Select Board has put the question on the warrant for the Town Meeting to be held on May 10.

The town of Gouldsboro, where the project’s proposed hatchery and processing plant would be located in the village of Prospect Harbor, voted last November to impose a 180-day moratorium on large-scale, finfish aquaculture projects to give town officials time to review and revise local ordinances to address that type of development.

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