Ottawa must hinge Muskrat Falls loan backing on regulatory review, watchdogs say

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ST. JOHN'S, N.L. - Public spending watchdogs say Ottawa should not back a loan guarantee for the Muskrat Falls hydro project in Labrador unless it passes an independent regulatory review.

The federal government says the proposed $7.4-billion project is viable and that it's working with a financial adviser to finalize a loan guarantee.

Ottawa's backing could shave hundreds of millions of dollars off borrowing costs for the plan to bring hydro power from Labrador to Newfoundland and Nova Scotia using subsea cables.

But Democracy Watch and the Canadian Taxpayers Federation say Ottawa should insist that Muskrat Falls be approved by an independent regulator.

Premier Kathy Dunderdale says expert consultants hired by her government have endorsed the project as the best option to meet future energy needs.

She has said for weeks that a loan guarantee or equivalent promised by Prime Minister Stephen Harper during the last federal election is almost complete.

Geographic location: Ottawa, Newfoundland, ST. JOHN'S Nova Scotia

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