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Thursday, November 3, 2016

November 3, 2016

 

For Immediate Release

 

 

 

Do Premier and Nalcor CEO See Eye-to-Eye on Muskrat Falls?

 

 

 

Barry Petten, Environment Critic for the Official Opposition, is asking if Premier Dwight Ball and Nalcor CEO Stan Marshall see eye-to-eye on the Muskrat Falls Project following the agreement the Premier made with Aboriginal leaders.

 

 

 

“Following an 11-hour meeting between the Premier and Aboriginal leaders on October 25-26, those Aboriginal leaders were under the clear impression that their agreement with the Premier would lead to additional measures to reduce methylmercury levels. Achieving those additional mitigation measures was clearly one of the four requests of the hunger strikers. Their third request was: ‘The removal of soil to minimize methyl-mercury production as identified by independent scientific research during second phase impoundment.’ Following the agreement, those hunger strikers were led to believe that their requests had been met sufficiently for them to end their protest and go home.

 

 

 

“But Nalcor’s CEO Stan Marshall – who said he was not directly involved in reaching this agreement, but who is aware of the recent scientific research that the hunger strikers cited – has said he does not believe that the hunger strikers’ request for soil removal is warranted. Regarding soil removal, he told VOCM: ‘There’s no evidence to suggest that that would improve the methylmercury situation.’ He said it could even ‘make it worse.’ He told the CBC: ‘[There is] not one documented case that I'm aware of that flooding a reservoir has caused harm due to methylmercury. It's in the environment. It's everywhere.’ He said: ‘There’s nothing in that [study] that says this will cause harm.’ He said: ‘So ask people, in their own experience, is there a documented case where filling the Upper Churchill caused a health problem in the Lake Melville area? That's the reality.’ He said: ‘Now, all of a sudden, it’s raised at the last moment. People are raising it in a panic. There’s no need to be panicked here. Like all of these things: they’re known; they’re understood.’

 

 

 

“Does the Premier disagree with Mr. Marshall about this? The Premier was quick to release his own statement clarifying his position after Mr. Marshall gave a round of interviews about this late evening on November 1. But the Premier’s statement did not actually challenge the CEO’s statements on soil removal. The Premier only said: ‘The provincial government stands behind the commitment that was made last week in partnership with the Innu Nation, the Nunatsiavut Government and the NunatuKavut Community Council. Nalcor has been directed to not increase the water levels at Muskrat Falls until all indigenous leaders have reviewed the engineering reports provided. The indigenous leaders have committed to providing government with their assessments of the engineering reports on Friday, November 4, 2016.’

 

 

 

“Are the Premier and Nalcor’s CEO at odds over Muskrat Falls? Or does the Premier share the CEO’s view that soil removal, as requested by the hunger strikers, is not needed?”

 

 

 

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Media Contact: Heather MacLean, Director of Communications, Office of the Official Opposition

 

(709) 729 6105, heathermaclean@gov.nl.ca

 

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