letter to the editor

The state can do the right thing

Mon, 05/13/2024 - 11:15am

On May 7, the Belfast City Council voted 5-0 to revoke its 2021 approval of an eminent domain action that would have taken intertidal land from 43-year Belfast residents Jeffrey Mabee and Judith Grace.

Under the guise of creating a municipal park, the 2021 eminent domain action would have skirted Maine's ban on using eminent domain for private purposes, and would have allowed Nordic Aquafarms to lay its needed saltwater intake and effluent discharge pipes across the seized intertidal land and into Belfast Bay.

The City Council has never copped to the municipal park ruse, but the May 7 council meeting was very instructive on this. At the meeting, Mayor Eric Sanders and all five city councilors spoke at some length about the eminent domain action, and Nordic Aquafarms was mentioned many times. But neither the mayor nor any council member ever mentioned the supposed municipal park. Not once.

While the Council did the right thing in revoking its dishonest 2021 eminent domain action, the dishonesty of the original eminent domain action should not be forgotten or brushed aside. And now the State of Maine should follow the lead of the Belfast City Council's May 7 revocation of its dishonest 2021 eminent domain action by revoking all the state Nordic Aquafarms permits that were predicated on Nordic have title, right and interest  to all needed lands.

Nordic never had TRI to all needed lands, but in its own dishonest fashion the state granted Nordic its needed permits anyway.

The Belfast City Council still hasn't come clean on its dishonesty, and I don't expect the state to do so either, but at least the state can do the right thing and revoke its dishonest permits.

Lawrence Reichard lives in Belfast