I write concerning The Telegram’s Oct. 23 front-page story, “Danny Williams’ Top 10 reasons for Muskrat Falls.”
For brevity’s sake, I will address only several of Danny’s 10 reasons for proceeding with Muskrat Falls.
First of all, according to Danny, “it has been demonstrated that we need the power.”
Isn’t it interesting that for someone who has spent the better part of his life presenting rational, well-thought-out arguments before the courts (all necessarily supported by facts and law), that when it comes to the most important and risky venture in the last 60 years facing his
fellow Newfoundlanders and Labradorians, Danny Williams offers nothing more than rhetorical statements and unsubstantiated claims, poorly disguised as “facts.”
There are no facts, as Danny claims, supporting his position that “there is a demonstrated need for more power.”
There are no facts, as Danny claims, that “clearly show increased industrial and residential demand.”
The facts actually say otherwise.
In its written submission to the Public Utilities Board (PUB), and contrary to Danny’s claim, Nalcor itself states that there is no increase in industrial demand forecast past year 2015.
Furthermore, the province’s own two 2011 energy-related plans (its Energy Efficiency Action Plan and its Climate Change Action Plan) both state clearly (and factually) that between 1990 and 2008, residential energy demand did not increase, but instead, actually decreased by 17 per cent.
Accordingly, Danny’s facts do not support his first and most important reason for proceeding with Muskrat Falls — that is, that according to Danny, it has been demonstrated that we need the power.
Instead, the facts actually support the conclusions of the only two independent reviews to date, the federal/provincial review panel and the province’s PUB reports, both of which have already previously concluded that Nalcor had not “demonstrated” that we need the power.
At best, Danny’s argument is reduced, not to a “demonstration” that we need the power, but to an irrational, unsupported, non-evidence-based, rhetorical statement based on Nalcor’s 50-year “forecast,” a forecast similar to its 10-year forecasting accuracy track record error, which (even after just 10 years) has historically been so large as to equal almost half of the average output rating of Muskrat Falls itself.
If Nalcor’s historically proven track record error rate were extended over the entire 50-year Muskrat Falls forecast period, the over-forecasting error alone would more than double the average forecast output of Muskrat Falls.
Furthermore, it is Nalcor’s “forecast” on which the very economic viability of Muskrat Falls depends.
It is also important to remember that only two options were presented to the PUB for review, and both were crafted by the proponent — Nalcor.
Nalcor not only crafted both options, the proponent also crafted and set out the parameters of the review itself, and by doing so limited what otherwise could have been an extensive, comprehensive and more objective process.
Such an approach, which included an unheard of 50-year forecasting and cost comparison process, effectively biased the entire process in favour of Muskrat Falls, while, at the same time, worked to the clear disadvantage of the only other option.
In summary, while Danny quotes an unnamed wise man as having once said that, “The sure way to miss success is to miss the opportunity,” I rely on both the facts and on the words of Mahatma Gandhi, who once said that “Even if you are a minority of only one, the truth is still the truth.”
Maurice E. Adams