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Tough talk on Muskrat Falls cloaks continuing secrecy; stronger oversight needed

Updated: Dec 3, 2018

NL NDP Leader Earle McCurdy says the Newfoundland and Labrador public is entitled to a more thorough explanation of the pros and cons of completing the Muskrat Falls project than it has received from either Nalcor or the provincial government. He adds the failure of the government-appointed Oversight Committee to take action on significant warning signs that the project was falling seriously over budget and behind schedule points to the need for stronger, independent scrutiny of the project.

“The people of the province will have to pay through the nose for this economically and environmentally reckless project,” McCurdy said. “The least they should expect is to be treated like adults and told what the relative costs and benefits are of continuing or abandoning the project.” He said the public deserves to receive a separate breakdown of the consequences of continuing to build the transmission lines while putting construction of the power generation facility at Muskrat Falls on hold.

The NDP Leader adds this is particularly important given the premier’s total reversal on withholding information. Dwight Ball, who in Opposition clamoured for more openness and transparency from government, now says that most contracts and costs will not be released because they of “corporate sensitivities.”

McCurdy noted that the April EY interim report recommended that project governance and oversight be “strengthened at the project, Nalcor Board and Provincial Government levels”, and that project reporting be enhanced to communicate risks more clearly.

Instead the Liberal government has continued the practice of the previous PC administration of limiting membership of the Muskrat Falls Oversight Committee to senior provincial officials.

“Maybe if government hadn’t been in such a rush to exclude Nalcor from the scrutiny of the Public Utilities Board and the Auditor General, the warning signs around this highly risky project would have been identified and dealt with much earlier,” he said.


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