The provincial government is continuing its full-court press for the Muskrat Falls hydroelectric project, rolling out report after report extolling the virtues of the development and outlining why it is simply the best option to meet our future energy needs.
So surefooted is the government about the project, that this week it announced, what the heck — it’ll let the opposition parties debate the merits of Muskrat for a full two hours in the House of Assembly.
There’s just one little proviso, of course. Muskrat might well be officially sanctioned before the debate is held. But, hey, let the opposition members talk their little hearts out; no one wants to be a killjoy, after all.
The release of government reports slowed to a trickle this week, but something tells me there’s more where they came from should continued public criticism of the project warrant another barrage.
Here’s a selection of report precis that could be waiting in the wings.
Health and Community Services
November 26, 2012
Significant Happiness Benefits
to be Achieved by Forging Ahead with Muskrat Falls
A report on the happiness quotient that would result from embracing the clean energy solutions offered by Muskrat Falls has found that the people of Newfoundland and Labrador would smile more and generally feel happier if the proposed project receives sanction.
The discussion paper, Upping the Happiness Quotient: Why Muskrat Falls Just Makes Folks Smile, was released today by the Department of Natural Resources in conjunction with the Department of Health and Community Services. The departments collaborated on a public survey that solicited responses from stakeholders at a St. John’s shopping destination to the question: “Have you heard enough about Muskrat Falls now and would you be happier if you did not have to hear about it anymore?”
The response was overwhelmingly affirmative, thereby corroborating the province’s position that the people of Newfoundland and Labrador are in favour of having the Muskrat Falls hydroelectric project move ahead without further delay.
Health and Community Services
November 27, 2012
Muskrat Falls is an Investment in the Wellness of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians
A report examining how physical activity and wellness levels experienced by Newfoundlanders and Labradorians would be impacted if Muskrat Falls received official sanction has determined that citizens’ general health would improve.
I Feel Good: How Muskrat Falls Helped Me Achieve a Better Body-Mass Index, outlines how a hydroelectric project at Muskrat Falls would prompt increased activity among residents and thereby increased wellness gradients. The government has outlined how electricity rates for consumers will increase and then stabilize during the early stages of the development of Muskrat Falls. This latest report details how early upswings in the price point for electricity will stimulate consumers to conserve energy.
Some residents will turn down thermostats and perform jumping-jacks, stationary running or other physical mobilizations to achieve increased body temperature as well as positive cardiovascular benchmarks.
Others are expected to decrease their dwelling’s reliance on electricity by switching to wood stoves — a home-heating method that, in itself, often requires citizens to exert energy in the pursuit of chopped fuelwood.
As the ratepayers’ costs for electricity level off in the advanced stages of Muskrat Falls, the report predicts that citizens by then will have achieved increased wellness and will have incorporated periods of regular athleticism into their daily life routines.
November 28, 2012
Muskrat Falls is a
Responsible Investment of Provincial Expenditures
A report into expenditures to date on preliminary work at the site of the proposed Muskrat Falls hydroelectric development project suggests official sanction of the project is the most cost-effective option for the people of Newfoundland and Labrador.
Throwing Good Money After Good Money: Why Muskrat Falls Just Makes Plain Good Financial Sense, was released today jointly by the departments of Finance and Natural Resources.
The report reiterated that several well-respected independently consulted experts as commissioned by the province have determined that Muskrat Falls is the Least-Cost Option™ to meet Newfoundland and Labrador’s clean energy needs into the future and thus will save taxpayers’ money in the long term.
However, the report also propounds that given the government’s significant financial expenditures to date at Muskrat Falls — millions of dollars responsibly invested in state-of-the-art site preparation, engineering reports, security detail, chain-link fencing, nutrition services, worker accommodations, landscape alterations, marketing and communications, wildlife diversion and transportation route development — formal sanction of the project is the best method to safeguard those public expenditures.
“To do otherwise would throw into jeopardy public funds,” the report’s executive summary states. “This is not a move forward the Departments of Finance and Natural Resources could responsibly condone. The people of the province deserve no less than to be reassured that the billions of dollars earmarked for Muskrat Falls are actually spent on Muskrat Falls in order that the previous investments disbursed for preliminary work at the Falls have been properly divested.”
Now, who in the world could argue with that?
Pam Frampton is a columnist and
The Telegram’s associate managing editor. She can be reached by email at