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Friday, November 4, 2016

November 4, 2016

 

For Immediate Release

 

 

 

Federal Liberal Government Extension of Loan Guarantee Shows Confidence in Muskrat Falls Project

 

 

 

Keith Hutchings, Natural Resources Critic for the Opposition, said, "The federal government - under the Trudeau Liberals – have shown confidence and recognize the value of the Muskrat Falls project with the extension of the federal loan guarantee."

 

Federal Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr stated on November 3: "The Lower Churchill projects will make a major contribution to meeting Atlantic Canada’s future energy needs by providing a long-term, reliable and abundant source of clean energy. The Lower Churchill projects are helping the people of Newfoundland and Labrador and will contribute to the achievement of Canada’s carbon emissions reduction targets."

 

Hutchings said, "In providing an extended loan guarantee for ‎the project, the federal government spoke in glowing terms: of how the project will lead to clean, renewable and reliable energy production, the creation of job opportunities and the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions - all benefits that we noted when we sanctioned the project. They spoke of how the project is part of a vision to strengthen the country's electricity‎ grid - another benefit that was an important reason for sanctioning the project. An electricity grid that will now be opened to the Eastern seaboard as part of the Maritime Link provides unprecedented opportunities for the transfer of power.

 

"While the unexpected challenges of executing the infrastructure build are indeed of concern and need detailed attention toward completion of project, the Ball Liberals have focused on the negativity of challenges while the federal government have seen the benefits and the opportunities.

 

"The Premier has talked about getting the project back on track, but the delayed actions of his government have allowed project concerns related to methylmercury to veer off track, which Nalcor's CEO says will now cost the project additional hundreds of millions which are a result of the Ball government's hands-off approach throughout the past year while concerns have grown,” said Hutchings.

 

"It was seven months ago in April that a Harvard-led report raising concerns about methylmercury was released, while in June the province's Environment and Natural Resources Ministers failed to establish a dialogue with those affected or a resolution of their concerns. This resulted in an escalation of their concerns along with protests, which have run up the costs of the project by hundreds of millions of dollars and caused further concerns about Nalcor's ability to meet the deadline for winter infrastructure protection.

 

"The Ball Liberals have still not released the Muskrat Falls oversight reports that are long overdue and that we have been requesting for months, nor have they released the duplicate EY report that was supposed to be made public in March 2016 - a report that was to cost $600,000 but now has a cost in the millions of dollars. In addition, details on the new cost assumptions announced by Nalcor's new CEO in June, which we requested on August 1 from the Natural Resources Minister, are again not available.

 

"Despite everything they have been doing to distance themselves from this project and to set it up for criticism, including hiring its critics, they will now have to step up and meet Ottawa's conditions for the extended loan guarantee. Fortunately, Ottawa will now certainly force them to disclose the oversight reports and other information that they have been refusing to make available.

 

"The Muskrat Falls Project is an incredible opportunity for our province to grow and prosper by harnessing our vast reserves of energy resources while continuing to build our energy warehouse through oil and gas, wind, hydro, and other innovative means. Their hands-off, visionless approach for not only this project but our province in general has not only hurt the project but jeopardized the economic growth opportunities that Muskrat Falls should be helping to drive. Not only have the Ball Liberals failed to come up with growth initiatives of their own, but they have been mismanaging the growth opportunities that they inherited," said Hutchings.

 

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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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