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David Abel’s article “In Maine, progress has a catch” (Page A1, Dec. 7), about the salmon farm we’ve proposed for Belfast, Maine, requires a response.

The volume of waste water discharge is irrelevant; it’s the content. Local sewage treatment plants’ allowable discharge is 30 milligrams per liter of total suspended solids and 30 milligrams per liter of biological oxygen demand — a measure of general pollutant load. Nordic Aquafarms’ discharge will be 6.3 milligrams per liter and 5.5 milligrams per liter, respectively — about one-sixth the amount other permits allow.

That’s why we have support from three prominent environmental groups: the Conservation Law Foundation, the Gulf of Maine Research Institute, and the Atlantic Salmon Federation, all of which Abel cited.

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Trees will be cleared from only about half of our 54-acre site. This land has been logged in the past.

In the closest thing to a citywide referendum on Nordic Aquafarms, three candidates in the Belfast City Council election ran as a slate against the project. All three lost decisively.

Finally, the columnist at the Republican Journal lost his job not because we complained, but because his editor said his newspapers “were developing a credibility concern of our own,” which the editor documented in a lengthy article.

Erik Heim

President

Marianne Naess

Commercial director

Nordic Aquafarms

Portland, Maine