The debate continues…
Last week the PC government acknowledged they had to do a better job of selling the Muskrat Falls project to the public – and now it appears that efforts will have to be doubled already. A paper by David Vardy from Memorial University’s Harris Centre of Regional Policy and Development concludes that the Muskrat Falls project is not the best option to supply the island with power. “Making Best Use of the Lower Churchill: The Muskrat Falls Development” makes the case that the project will increase the province’s already large debt load – and that the selection of Muskrat Falls as the first Lower Churchill project delays the larger Gull Island project, which has a larger capacity and lower cost per energy unit. Source: VOCM
A panel assigned to review the Lower Churchill hydro-electric project calls the company’s analysis of the project “inadequate,” while also asking for more information from Nalcor. The review panel is recommending a new, independent analysis based on economic, energy and environmental considerations. The new analysis would take into consideration domestic energy demand projections, as well as alternate energy sources, such as using offshore gas as a fuel for the Holyrood thermal generating facility. The panel’s summary of their findings states: “The panel has determined that the project would have several significant adverse environmental effects on the aquatic and terrestrial environments, culture and heritage and, should consumption advisories be required in Lake Melville, on land and resource uses.” Source: CBC
A tentative deal that would see Ottawa provide a loan guarantee for the proposed $6.2-billion Muskrat Falls hydroelectric project in Labrador was critized heavily by the provincial NDP and Liberal parties. The deal is merely “an agreement to agree”, shrugged NDP Leader Lorraine Michael, who wondered aloud what has happened since Harper committed in March to back Muskrat Falls during the federal election campaign. “Work that we thought was happening in actual fact wasn’t happening,” Michael said in an interview. “We were led to believe by the premier that this kind of work was actually going on.” Provincial Liberal Leader Kevin Aylward said he too wondered why more work on the deal hasn’t been done yet. “This is not a legally binding offer and the Harper government can still back out of it,” Aylward said in a statement. “It’s no wonder Premier Kathy Dunderdale didn’t show up for the press…
CBC is reporting that the federal government will make an announcement on Friday about a loan guarantee for the proposed Muskrat Falls hydroelectric project. Prime Minister Stephen Harper promised the federal government would give Newfoundland and Labrador a loan guarantee when he was campaigning in the province before last May’s federal election – and there has been no indication to the contrary since. A loan guarantee on the proposed $6.2 billion project essentially lets the provincial government borrow money using the Federal government’s credit rating to reduce the interest paid on said loans. The loan guarantee would provide significant savings throughout the course of the project’s development. Source: CBC
Nalcor has submitted the necessary environmental impact study for the construction and operation of about 1,100 kilometres of electric power transmission line and associated infrastructure between the Island and Labrador. Nalcor has identified two cable landing locations, one being at Mistaken Cove and the other at Shoal Cove, both of which are on the Northern Peninsula – and has proposed numerous options on how the lines would get there. Click here to read the report. Public comments on the study must be received no later than September 20th. Source: VOCM
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Innu leaders in Labrador have outlined changes they feel must be made to the proposed Lower Churchill hydroelectric project. “Our consent is required, but it has not yet been obtained,” Joseph Riche, grand chief of the Innu Nation, told an environmental review panel in Happy Valley-Goose Bay. The Innu have initialed a deal that would let the project proceed, but it has not yet been ratified. It is known as the New Dawn agreement, and includes the point that energy from the project should flow into Natuashish, otherwise the Innu will not support it. “This will only happen if the Innu people are satisfied that the benefits of this project will outweigh the impact,” Riche said.
Grand RiverKeeper happy with initial environmental assessment hearing for the proposed Lower Churchill project