To the The Honorable Deb Haaland, Secretary Department of the Interior


June 29, 2021
The Honorable Deb Haaland, Secretary
Department of the Interior
1849 C Street, N.W.
Washington DC 20240
Dear Secretary Haaland: We were proud to have you visit Maine recently and pleased that you were able to spend time in Acadia National Park. This is a part of the state that is very special to us and to the many people from all over the world who visit each year. We understand that you were told about a proposal for an industrial fish farm in the waters of Frenchman Bay, which sits between the two sections of Acadia and plays a major part in the park viewshed and overall experience. This massive project, funded by Norwegian investors, would place thirty 150’ diameter salmon pens in two 60-acre lease sites in the middle of the bay.

The pens will displace those who fish for lobsters and other species in this area, threaten the bay’s ecosystem with billions of gallon of effluent from fish waste and feed, harm other small aquaculture operations that grow oysters, mussels and kelp, and disrupt life around the bay with the noise and air pollution from diesel generators that will run all day and night to power scores of pumps and lights.

In addition, large ships carrying diesel fuel, fish food and fish waste will travel every day through some of the state’s most pristine waters off Schoodic Point on their way to and from the pens, destroying lobster gear along the way and disrupting the beauty and tranquility that we know you experienced there. In short, this project will totally disrupt a balance of uses in the bay that has existed for generations. And long before any of our ancestors arrived in this beautiful place, it was important in the lives of the Wabanaki.

As a 2014 article in the Friends of Acadia Journal noted, “…evidence from archaeology, oral tradition, and early European accounts suggest that the Mount Desert Island area … was the center of one of the most important Wabanaki alliances encountered by early European arrivals. And Frenchman Bay became a critical borderland of sorts in the complex relationships that developed between the Wabanaki, French, and English.”

Frenchman Bay United is a coalition of groups and people from all walks of life that have come together to defeat this irresponsible proposal. Acadia National Park is one of the most beautiful and unspoiled places in this entire country, and, aside from the environmental and economic havoc this project will create, the waters off Acadia are simply the wrong place for any kind of industrial development.

Unfortunately, Maine’s current rules and regulations offer inadequate protection against a large-scale industrial aquaculture project like this and disenfranchise many stakeholders around the bay from having a meaningful say in the consideration of permit applications. The data we have seen lack scientifically viable criteria and demonstrate to us that this project will significantly degrade water quality, dramatically increase air, noise and light pollution, and harm the fisheries and local economies that depend on an unspoiled natural environment.

We hope that you will help us. We would welcome your opposition to this destructive project, but at the very least we hope that you join the many land trusts, conservation groups, fishing communities, businesspeople and others who have requested that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the only federal permitting authority for this project, conduct a comprehensive Environmental Impact Statement under the terms of the National Environmental Policy Act.

Again, thank you for coming to Maine and for your service to our country as the leader of the Department of the Interior. We hope that you will return often to our state.

Please direct any response to [email protected]

Kathleen Rybarz Jacqueline Weaver
Friends of Frenchman Bay Friends of Schoodic Peninsula

Jeri Bowers Crystal Canney
Friends of Eastern Bay. Protect Maine’s Fishing Heritage Foundation

Ted O’Meara Henry Sharpe
Save the Bay Frenchman Bay United

CC: Maine Governor Janet Mills
U.S. Senator Susan Collins
U.S. Senator Angus King
U.S. Representative Chellie Pingree
U.S. Representative Jared Golden