The state Board of Environmental Protection has wrapped up its hearings, testimony and evidence-gathering in Nordic Aquafarms' application to daily discharge 7.7 million gallons of industrial fish-factory effluent into Belfast Bay, and any day now BEP will parade before the cameras and announce its fateful decision.
But the real decision facing BEP is not whether to approve Nordic's application. Every indication is that BEP decided that well before it started wasting large sums of taxpayer money on its sham process.
The real decision facing BEP is what grave and weighty conditions to place on Nordic's permit in a futile attempt to mollify and silence – or at least muffle – the Nordic opposition.
How many trifling conditions will it take to convince the media and the public that it has adequately furrowed its brow and lost untold hours of sleep in its herculean effort to dutifully study every intricacy and nuance of the mammoth Nordic application and to rein in the worst excesses of the important and indeed momentous Nordic application?
Will BEP wag its finger at Nordic and sternly limit Nordic's daily effluent discharge to a mere 7.6 million gallons, as opposed to the whopping 7.7 million gallons Nordic proposes?
Will BEP insist Nordic reduce its daily algae-inducing discharge of 1,600 pounds of nitrogen to a meager 1,500 pounds?
Will BEP require Nordic to offset its lethal disruption and disbursement of relatively settled industrial mercury in Belfast Bay by making a donation to the vaunted What's a Little Mercury Between Friends Foundation?
Will it require Nordic to finally inform the Town of Searsport that it intends to send through its as yet unsuspecting streets more than a 100 truckloads of seabed sediment laced with that highly toxic mercury?
Will BEP require Nordic to at least inform the good people of New Hampshire that it intends to dump that poisonous sludge on top of its drinking water?
Will it require Nordic to offset destruction of habitat of the endangered bobolink bird by making a donation to the distinguished and renowned What's a Few Less Birds Foundation?
Will BEP force Nordic to finally tell us, some day, when Nordic feels like it, how much laced-with-pesticide Brazilian soy it plans to feed the millions of fish trapped in its circular fish prisons, and just how much of that poisonous soy will find its way into Belfast Bay?
Obviously these are all grave, weighty and momentous questions facing the BEP in its solemn duty to paint sufficient lipstick on this macabre pig of a project.
Lawrence Reichard lives in Belfast