I have watched the debate over Muskrat Falls with keen interest, as it is one of the most important projects that Newfoundland and Labrador will undertake in my lifetime.
I have reviewed and digested much of the information available and attended presentations by Nalcor CEO Ed Martin. I have also spent considerable time reading editorials that are both for and against the project. I strongly support this project as one that will have significant long-term benefits for our province. I support this project for four main reasons. Others have outlined many more reasons to believe in this project.
1. We will build a 100-year asset — really forever — that will be paid off in 30 years, which will give us generations of excellent returns for the people of the province, and also stable long-term energy rates.
2. We will get a connection to the North American energy grid through the fixed-link deal with Emera in Nova Scotia. They will pay to build the link and use one-third of its capacity for 35 years and then it will be turned over to Nalcor for $1. A number of opponents say that Nova Scotians are getting cheap power, however, from this province’s perspective without the fixed-link deal, it is water that would flow over the dam and down the river without any benefit. This superbly negotiated deal gives us an important link to use now for excess power and to use exclusively, after the 35-year deal ends, for the remaining life of the asset.
3. This will put the province in the enviable position of having 98 per cent of its energy from clean energy sources. We will demonstrate tremendous environmental leadership with this project and it will put us in a position that most provinces and countries throughout the world can only dream of.
4. I have utmost confidence in the world-class team at Nalcor, led by Ed Martin. I’ve had the opportunity to question Mr. Martin and several of his senior staff about this project and they have always provided answers that are clear, and demonstrate the extensive due diligence they have undertaken.
I would encourage everyone in the province to learn more about Muskrat Falls as it will have a profound effect on future generations. I feel it is our responsibility as Newfoundlanders and Labradorians to get engaged. I am confident that when you review all the information you will come to the same conclusion as me and support this strategic investment for our province.