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News » Canada » Public inquiry announced for Muskrat Falls hydro project » published 24 Nov 2017

Public inquiry announced for Muskrat Falls hydro project

The government of Newfoundland & Labrador has decided to set up a public inquiry into the Muskrat Falls hydro project following cost increases on the scheme.

The Muskrat Falls hydro scheme is being developed by Nalcor Energy Above: The Muskrat Falls hydro scheme is being developed by Nalcor Energy

Premier Dwight Ball has announced the appointment of Justice Richard D LeBlanc as the sole commissioner of inquiry. He will begin his work in January 2018.

“Through this public inquiry, we will learn if the project today, is the project the people of the province were sold in 2012,” said Ball. “While we cannot undo the past, we can learn from it and make more informed decisions as we take actions to minimize the impact of this project on ratepayers. I thank Justice LeBlanc for his commitment and dedication to this inquiry.”

A partnership agreement for development of the project had been signed in 2010 and the contractor for the major civils work was appointed in 2013 (link opens in new tab).

Minister of natural resources Siobhan Coady said: “The inquiry will address project sanctioning and execution, previous exemption of the project from PUB oversight and project cost and schedule. We will continue to move the project forward as effectively as possible despite the challenges we inherited.”

The inquiry is intended to provide a greater understanding of:

  • whether all options were considered at the time of sanctioning the project;
  • why there are significant differences between the actual cost of the project and the estimated cost at the time of sanction; and
  • whether it was justified and reasonable for the project to be excluded from oversight by the Public Utilities Board.

Minister of justice and public safety Andrew Parsons added: “The magnitude of this inquiry is significant. It will provide a thorough and detailed review of the facts and circumstances, in their entirety. I am extremely confident in Justice LeBlanc’s ability to achieve thoroughness and accuracy in addressing this enormous task.”

The inquiry is expected to take approximately two years for completion with the final report due on 31 December 2019.

 

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This article was published on 24 Nov 2017 (last updated on 24 Nov 2017).

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