The legal back and forth between supporters and opponents of a proposed Belfast salmon farm continued last week when the Maine Office of the Attorney General filed a civil complaint as an intervenor in a case that pits a conservation group against the city and Nordic Aquafarms.
The filing seeks to ensure that state law is followed with regard to changing or terminating a conservation easement that’s at issue in the dispute.
“This action by the attorney general effectively prevents Nordic and the city from starting construction on the intertidal area,” said Andy Stevenson, a spokesman for the Friends of the Harriet L. Hartley Conservation Area. “That’s a win for us at this time.”
However, an attorney for the city described the AG’s filing as “a placeholder complaint” that won’t be relevant unless the Superior Court rules against the city on appeal, according to a statement from Kristin Collins of Preti Flaherty.
A spokeswoman for Nordic Aquafarms said she expects the legal issues to be “resolved fairly shortly.”
In 2018, Nordic Aquafarms announced plans to build a land-based salmon farm in Belfast that would produce 66 million pounds of salmon a year at a facility on U.S. Route 1 near the Northport town line. The company has since gained key local, state and federal approvals, but legal challenges throughout have prevented construction.
It is one of four proposed or approved large-scale fish farms in the state, along with a land-based farm in Jonesport that’s expected to break ground next year; a land-based salmon farm in Bucksport that is approved but not yet built and an ocean-based, closed-net pen system off Bar Harbor that is in the process of applying for government approvals.