Muskrat Falls is already a ‘go’

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Who’s kidding whom? At this point in time, August 2012, the Conservative government under the leadership of one Kathy Dunderdale continues to insist that government’s decision on Muskrat Falls is not yet made. Well, that’s really great to know.

The people of Newfoundland and Labrador will be exceptionally pleased to know that.

Unfortunately, someone must have forgotten to tell our astute premier that the so-called Muskrat Falls project is “on” and that it has been moving ahead for quite some time. Can you imagine that? Where has our premier been? We know that she is not in the House of Assembly and really doesn’t want to be in the House to listen to or have to answer silly and irrelevant questions from the opposition parties.

Muskrat Falls is a “go” and everyone knows it, well, everyone except the premier and her merry little group who seem to be getting too much fibre in their diet these days.

Ask Emera, Nova Scotia’s private utility which will provide over $2 billion to various parts of the project. Do you think for one minute that Emera is just sharpening its pencils while waiting in Nova Scotia for Kathy Dunderdale to make her decision?

Ask Nalcor, Newfoundland and Labrador’s version of “profits unlimited.” Do you think for one minute that they haven’t already spent hundreds of millions for start up of Muskrat Falls? Do you really believe that Nalcor is sitting back, patiently waiting for our Almighty Kathy to wave her magic wand and say: “Muskrat is now open for development”? Good luck with that.

The game is on, folks. Money from the public purse and private corporations is being spent hand over fist, trees are being uprooted, land is being cleared, companies are making plans, the ball is rolling, an avalanche of activity has started. What more do we need to convince us that Muskrat is a go?

And now Nalcor and Emera have reached a deal on hydroelectric development on Muskrat.

Does that say to you, “the project is not proceeding, it’s at a standstill”? Or that “we’re waiting for the debate”? Do you think for one minute that the premier is going to say: “I want the companies to stop. Government hasn’t given permission for this project to proceed”?

Or do you think that it will be decided in the fall, if the House opens, during the so-called debate on Muskrat? If there ever was a Newfoundland joke, the debate on Muskrat will be it.

All studies completed in the past year on whether or not Muskrat is the right development at this time, well, at least the ones preferred and accepted by the premier, give the OK for work to proceed on the Muskrat Falls development.

Those studies that are selected by the premier indicate that Muskrat is best thing and the right economic megaproject for Newfoundland and Labrador at this time. Are we so blind that we cannot see the obvious? The project is signed, sealed and delivered, folks, there’s no turning back.

In six short years, Muskrat energy will be on the grid working its way to Nova Scotia and to Newfoundland and Labrador and we, the people, will inherit for years to come another white elephant which will feed on our dwindling incomes night and day.

There will certainly be many cold winters ahead and we can’t even save pennies any more.

Premier, stop dallying around and just come clean on Muskrat Falls. The project is unstoppable at this point and it doesn’t matter a row of beans what we, the people think or what anyone thinks.

The simple truth is that megaprojects just don’t stop for anyone or any group. They assume a life of their own, just as Muskrat has. And it doesn’t need the permission of the premier or the people of Newfoundland and Labrador to proceed. So get ready to be energized by Muskrat Falls, the new bunny on the block. It keeps going and going and will be here soon enough.

We, the people, will be paying a hefty price for it when it finally finds its way to our doorstep.

P.J. Dwyer writes from Gander.

Geographic location: Muskrat, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia

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Recent comments

  • William Daniels
    August 03, 2012 - 18:24

    NL cannot let this deal happen. I can't believe we are still even considering it.

  • Maurice E. Adams
    August 03, 2012 - 12:01

    The only 2 independent studies concluded that Nalcor had not shown Muskrat Falls to be viable. And when it comes to Muskrat Falls keeping on going and going? --------- Only with captive island ratepayers robbing their children's and grand children's piggy banks to keep feeding Nalcor (and Emera) the $14.5 BILLION in debt servicing and operating costs over the next 50 years alone, $21 BILLION in total cash flow from the pockets of captive island ratepayers (especially our children and grand children) AFTER 2041 alone. More than $6 BILLION in debt servicing and operating costs AFTER 2041 alone. $35 BILLION in total cash flow TOTALLY out of the pockets of captive island ratepayers over the LOCKED-IN 50 year take or pay contract period --- and a project that effectively will weaken the province fiscally, so that pre-2041 we will once again be at the mercy of Quebec ---- when instead we (our children and grand children) should be reaping the benefits of the availability of NEAR-ZERO cost Upper Churchill power (instead, stifled by FORCED/CONTRACTED, 50 year use of VERY HIGH COST Muskrat Falls power. See www.vision2041.com

  • Cyril Rogers
    August 03, 2012 - 10:26

    Mr. Dwyer, you are absolutely correct in your analysis of the government's attitude and behaviour. Their "talk" about a "final decision" and "debate" in the HOA is simply a sham. Their minds were made up when Danny told them to do it nearly two years ago. This decision, with no opportunity for the people to vote on it, via a referendum, is but one more example of the perilous state of democracy......... and demonstrates an attitude by arrogant politicians that they always know what is best for the common people. Kathy Dunderdale and her minions will pass from the scene very soon but we will be stuck with this monstrosity! For that, I hold Danny Williams responsible!

    • John Smith
      August 03, 2012 - 14:33

      What a moronic comment. The PC government was just voted in a few months ago, a democraticly elected government, they ran on a platform that included muskrat falls, and they won by a landslide...so don't use democracy in your ill advised, poorly researched, and imbecillic rants.

  • W Bagg
    August 03, 2012 - 09:14

    maybe during the debate they could go on one of those tours that MHAs go on to view all the work done at Muskrat, the roads, the power line cut lines, the Submarine behind the falls..............great photo op for all.

  • John Smith
    August 03, 2012 - 07:52

    Well, PJ...you are wrong on just about every point in your letter. First off all the provincial governenments since 1967 have been spending money on the lower churchill, millions of dollars has been spent. Frank Mores I think it was even did blasting on both sides of the straights. The thing is there will be a project at the lower churchill...definitely. Will it be the current project? As it is now with Emera and the 824 megawatts at muskrat? We don't know. The work that is being done, and has been done to date lends itself to any project that would go there...clering for power lines, putting in a road, preliminary engineering...all can go ahead without saction. The other wrong point you allude to is the cost of the power. Right now today it costs 16.5 cents a KWH to make power in Holyrood. When you combine the normal rate, with the cost adjusted rate we are paying nearly 13 cents a KWH right now. Minister Kennedy has said we will pay 16.5 cents a KWH in soldiers pond for muskrat power, but that will stableize our rates forever, no more cost adjusment for burning dirty oil. You are ignorant of the facts PJ...people like you should really educate yourself before you go spouting off in letters to the newspaper...in my opinion.

    • Eli
      August 03, 2012 - 13:09

      And your opinion Mr.(?) Smith is worthless.

  • Eli
    August 03, 2012 - 07:20

    Well said P.J. Dwyer. Can't figure why the media hasn't picked up on this. As for "the debate in the House", what's the friggin' use? There won't be a vote anyway.