Sorrento to seek intervenor status in salmon farm application

SORRENTO — Voters approved all 23 articles at the town’s annual meeting Sept. 27, which was held at the Sorrento-Sullivan Recreation Center.

One of those approved articles directs the town to oppose the salmon farm proposed by American Aquafarms, a Norwegian-backed company that is applying to raise Atlantic salmon in ocean pens at two 60-acre sites in Frenchman Bay.

The article also allows the Select Board to seek intervenor status in the project’s application with the Maine Department of Marine Resources (DMR), which is responsible for overseeing the lease applications for aquaculture farmers.

If granted that status, “intervenors may provide testimony and present witnesses during the public hearing,” and in some cases, can make comments on the draft decision of an application, according to the department’s website.

Additionally, the approved article was amended to include that the town request an environmental impact statement, Select Board Chairman Rob Wilpan told The American.

The town’s move to oppose the salmon farm follows other vocal opposition directed at the proposed project, including from lobstermen, Acadia National Park officials and the Bar Harbor Town Council, which voted unanimously in June to seek intervenor status.

Members of the Sullivan Select Board have also been discussing whether the board should oppose the project, which has been criticized for its industrial scale and potential environmental impacts.

At the Sullivan Select Board’s Sept. 13 meeting, board member Roger Wakefield moved for a second time that the board draft a letter in opposition of the project.

Following discussion, the board voted against sending an opposition letter, but decided that town officials will inquire about the project’s application status with DMR and will plan a public meeting to solicit feedback on the project and what the town’s role should be.

In other Sorrento Town Meeting business, voters approved raising and appropriating $441,980.75 for traditional line items that include administration, snowplowing and sanding and trash disposal. That figure is down from $473,317.18 last year.

Voters also approved appropriating $28,303.33 in funds from the American Rescue Plan Act to the town for its capital improvements of the Long Pond Water District.

On Nov. 8, Sorrento voters will participate in two uncontested elections.

Chairman Wilpan is running unopposed for re-election for a three-year term.

Current Fire Chief and Road Commissioner Joey Clark is running unopposed for re-election for both positions, which each have two-year terms.

Rebecca Alley

Rebecca Alley

Reporter at The Ellsworth American
Rebecca is the Schoodic-area reporter and covers the towns of Eastbrook, Franklin, Hancock, Lamoine, Sorrento, Sullivan, Waltham, Winter Harbor and Trenton. She lives in Ellsworth with her husband and baby boy who was joyously welcomed in June 2020. Feel free to send tips and story ideas to [email protected]

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