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Lower Churchill - page 2

Muskrat Falls loan guarantee announced today

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What is being called a “major” announcement will be made this morning involving all the major players in the Muskrat Falls hydro development – Federal ministers, provincial ministers from Nova Scotia, and representatives from both Nalcor and Emera. The announcement is being billed as a “clean energy for Atlantic Canada” initiative, and is taking place at 9:00 this morning at Atlantic Place. The historic announcement means a much cheaper development for all involved parties; 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. Stay tuned to TheIndependent.ca for pictures of the new conference. Source: VOCM

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A self-defeating argument

in Featured/Through the Fog by

If Kevin Aylward and his Liberals are to have any chance in this election campaign, it won’t be through attacking Muskrat Falls.

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This election could be our last chance

in Featured/To Each Their Own by

Enough vague promises. This is our last chance to get something right.

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Schedule for Lower Churchill development unrealistic?

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An assessment by an international team of experts suggests the schedule for the $6.2-billion Muskrat Falls development is overly ambitious. “We are concerned about the reality of the schedule,” says the review by a four-member team whose expertise includes megaproject planning, design and risk management. Provincial Crown corporation Nalcor Energy has set next October as the timeline to complete 60 to 70 per cent of required engineering and have local staff in place ahead of ground-breaking next spring in Labrador. “Experience suggests it is unlikely this can be achieved,” says the review, released by Nalcor Energy.“ If it is not, the implementation of the contract strategy gets off to a bad start based on a pattern of unrealistic objectives.” The report also raises safety concerns, warning of risks posed by transient, semi-skilled workers and what it calls an “East Coast safety culture.” Ed Martin, president and CEO of Nalcor, said…

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Provincial Liberals discover social media

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A major announcement coming from the provincial Liberal party during its convention over the weekend included the party decided to use social media to campaign against the proposed Muskrat Falls project in Labrador. The party has launched a campaign called ‘Muskrat Fails’ and will use a website, Facebook and Twitter to get the message out, along with a mascot named Winston the Water Drop. Liberal leader Yvonne Jones says the project will only generate higher electricity rates for local consumers with negligible benefits. There seems to be two critical flaws in the plan. First, there is considerable support for the project at the Federal level, among the Atlantic Provinces, and with the people of Newfoundland and Labrador. Second, a glance at the Provincial Liberal party’s website as it stands does not exude much confidence in their ability to run a successful online campaign to change that many minds.

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Canada keeps the UN in the dark

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The federal government has acknowledged that it deliberately excluded data in a 567-page report on climate change which was submitted to the United Nations – data which indicated a 20 per cent increase in pollution from Canada’s oilsands industry in 2009. Overall, the report revealed a six per cent drop in annual emissions for the entire economy from 2008 to 2009, but excluded the impact of Alberta’s oilsands, which now emits more greenhouse gasses than all the cars driven on Canadian roads. Continued negative press for the oilsands may prompt the federal government to shift focus on cleaner energy projects, such as Atlantic Canada’s own Lower Churchill development.

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Guidelines released for transmission link environmental assessment

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The Lower Churchill project inches along. Yesterday, the provincial government approved the final scoping document for the electricity transmission link to be built between mainland Labrador and the island portion of Newfoundland. The 1,100-kilometre transmission line is expected to cost $2.1 billion, and is an essential component for the Muskrat Falls hydro generation project. The guidelines and scoping document will identify the information that Nalcor Energy will be required to address in order to prepare the environmental impact statement.

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Rare earths and renewables

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One of the regions that could help break the monopoly on rare earths is this very province

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Updated: Harper approves federal loan guarantee

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Lower Churchill project a sealed deal with the federal government

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Loan guarantee for Lower Churchill could be coming soon

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A federal loan guarantee to develop the Lower Churchill hydroelectric project could be just around the corner. Premier Kathy Dunderdale says that Prime Minister Stephen Harper has proposed conditions for the loan guarantee, all of which will be met. Dunderdale notes that Harper’s questions about Muskrat Falls focused mostly on the economics of the project. She expects a loan guarantee to be achieved soon. Harper arrives in the province tomorrow, at which time Dunderdale hopes to meet with him to discuss Muskrat Falls. Meanwhile, the provincial Liberals accuse the government of underestimating the construction costs of developing the project — and overestimating the demand for electricity. Leader Yvonne Jones scoffs at government estimates which suggest that power use will rise by about a third over the next six years.

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NunatuKavut Council willing to participate in hearings

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The NunatuKavut Community Council may have lost a court injunction to suspend Nalcor’s Lower Churchill hearings, but it is still willing to participate in the process. The council, which represents the Métis Nation, filed a Supreme Court injunction earlier this month against the energy corporation, claiming the council was not properly consulted during the environmental assessment. The judge ruled, however, that the council failed to prove its native rights would be undermined if the public hearings continued. Alas, the NunatuKavut Community Council is encouraging its members to participate in the hearings and learn about the project’s components and layout, construction, operation and maintenance. This decision could be a sign the council is willing to continue with the overall process. The session takes place at the Labrador Friendship Centre in Happy Valley-Goose Bay tonight at 7:30.

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Labrador mayor warns hydro project will be a strain

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The mayor of Happy Valley-Goose Bay says the proposed Lower Churchill project could make the area’s housing problem worse and cost businesses and residents money. He spoke Thursday night at the first environmental assessment panel’s hearing into the project. “If you were looking for an apartment in town today or tomorrow, you’d have a very difficult time,” said Mayor Leo Abbass, who expects the challenge to find housing to only worsen. He’s also afraid the project will put a strain on the town’s roads, water supply, firefighting resources and even the dump. He feels they will all need upgrading to handle the project. “The town will incur significant costs that it can not reasonably expect its residents and businesses to bare in increased taxes,” he said. To hear Grand RiverKeeper’s comments on the hearing, see Indy coverage.

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