Agreement reached on compensation for Exploits River hydroelectric assets: Marshall

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Tom Marshall. — File photo

The provincial government is paying around $75 million to settle with Fortis, which owned part of one of the Abitibi hydroelectric dams that then-premier Danny Williams expropriated in 2008.

In the House of Assembly this afternoon, Natural Resources Minister Tom Marshall called it a “fair settlement for the people of the province and for Fortis.”

The government is paying Fortis $18.4 million, on top of previous payments of about $4 million. The government has also agreed to pay off a loan related to the hydro dam, worth about $54 million.

Liberal Leader Dwight Ball said he's happy to see the negotiations end, but New Democrat Leader Lorraine Michael said it's not a good news announcement.

“I think we need to reflect right now on the hasty expropriation that this government conducted several years ago,” Michael said.

“Mr. Speaker, ‘haste makes waste’, and I suggest that this government reflect on that axiom.”

In total, the government has spent well over $100 million related to the expropriation of hydro dams and water and timber rights from Abitibi-Bowater. In 2008 the company was teetering on the verge of bankruptcy and shutting down its Grand Falls-Windsor mill.

The government said that they needed to move quickly on expropriation to keep the assets from being split up and sold in bankruptcy court.


(Earlier story)

Natural Resources Minister Tom Marshall said in the province’s House of Assembly today that an agreement has been reached on compensation for Exploits River hydroelectric assets.

Marshall said the provincial government and Fortis Properties Corporation agreed on compensation of $18.4 million to Fortis arising from the introduction of the Abitibi-Consolidated Rights and Assets Act. The amount is in addition to payments previously made totalling $22.4 million.

“This concludes all compensation arrangements related to the expropriation of hydroelectric assets formerly owned by Abitibi,” Marshall said.

The minister added that a compensation arrangement has also been reached with a consortium of lenders represented by Sun Life Assurance Company of Canada for the outstanding loan payments and balance related to the Exploits River Hydro Partnership assets.

Nalcor Energy will assume a loan obligation of approximately $54 million, which will be supported through the provincial government.

Marshall said government took decisive action in 2008 when it became apparent that Abitibi-Bowater was abandoning its pulp and paper operations in Grand Falls-Windsor.

He said the Abitibi-Consolidated Rights and Assets Act was introduced to protect the people of central Newfoundland and the province’s resources, and upon its passage, the hydro, timber and land assets became legal property of the provincial government.

Organizations: Abitibi-Consolidated, Fortis Properties, Sun Life Assurance Company of Canada Exploits River Hydro Partnership

Geographic location: Exploits River, Abitibi, Grand Falls-Windsor Newfoundland

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Recent comments

  • kevin
    April 30, 2013 - 23:23

    to think that the hard working men and women of this province are paying taxes that are wasted by this government....makes one sick

  • corrupt to the bone
    April 30, 2013 - 23:11

    corruption @ work, when are these useless overpayed politicians called conservatives, liberals, and ndp going to get it. ITS TAXPAYERS MONEY ! little wonder why i don't vote and turned off by politics. SICKENING!

  • Corporate Psycho
    April 30, 2013 - 19:33

    Saw the government on tv in the house applauding Mr. Marshall when he was announcing this. Are they for real ? To put this into perspective Sprung was a 22 million dollar boondoggle. This will be in the hundreds of millions. All on Danny.

  • Billy Boot
    April 30, 2013 - 16:35

    Its a comedy. They throw around millions after millions of taxpayers money like it is monopoly money. Is there no accountability for this arrogant bunch of incompetents. Another 75,000,000 dollars out the window for nothing. Again they simply brush it off like its nothing. We have lived down the Churchill Falls mistakes for 10's of years with our commitment to do so never again. Well folks. Is time to ask yourself, can we live down an even greater series of debacles as being perpetrated by this bunch? God guard thee Newfoundland

  • Mike
    April 30, 2013 - 16:04

    For those that may not recall, the expropriation fiasco was conducted by then Minister of Natural Resources, Kathy Dunderdale. The first of what was to be many gaffes on her part leading to the less than flattering, but accurate nickname, "Blunderdale" How great is that we are laying-off people and our government messes up, and the result is taxpayer dollars going to pay of a loan that Abitibi was going to forfeit on through bankruptcy? Great work Minister Marshall! Great work Premier! You call this good management? In the private sector we call it incompetence and you would be fired!

  • Another Loss for Newfoundland
    April 30, 2013 - 15:40

    Put this on our Tab. What a Joke they have become. This government seems to be using Nl taxpayers as a business pawn. I figure that torys can use this quote. Its better to hated for what you are, then loved for something your not.

  • Bean Counter
    April 30, 2013 - 15:28

    An automatic recount please; I don't trust any amount that Missed by Millions Minister Marshall throws out there.