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Ball Government Squandered Opportunity to Review Safety of North Spur Before Flooding
Lela Evans said Natural Resources Minister Siobhan Coady has recently been warned again that the lack of an independent expert review of the safety of the North Spur at Muskrat Falls puts the entire dam project and thousands of lives at risk
Thursday, August 8, 2019

Office of the Official Opposition 

For Immediate Release

 

Goose Bay, NL (August 8, 2019) – PC MHA for Torngat Mountains Lela Evans said the Ball Liberals squandered four years without taking the advice of scientists and engineers to conduct an independent expert review of the integrity of the North Spur before flooding the reservoir behind the dam.

Evans said Natural Resources Minister Siobhan Coady has recently been warned again that the lack of an independent expert review of the safety of the North Spur at Muskrat Falls puts the entire dam project and thousands of lives at risk.

Hydro engineer Jim Gordon wrote to the minister to remind her of the findings of scientists, whose geotechnical analysis identified a layer of clay that could liquefy and suddenly collapse, providing no warning to residents living down-river from the dam. The scientists say that Nalcor paid for studies which did not investigate the risk of catastrophic failure due to the sliding of the sediment in the soft base layer. Instead Nalcor studies considered only the average strength of all layers.

"We have called repeatedly for an independent ‎panel to examine the stability of the North Spur. A fraction of the $30 million the Premier earmarked but never spent for wetland capping could have been used to conduct an independent review of the stability of the North Spur," said Evans. “With flooding of the reservoir now starting, it is too late for this review.”

Evans said that because of the start of impoundment Wednesday, it is now too late for an independent expert panel to be assembled to review available evidence and report whether additional geotechnical investigation is indicated.

“In light of persistent scientific warnings, and with not just billions of dollars but many lives at risk, people living downstream have the right to the additional peace of mind that an independent review would have provided," Evans added. “The decision of Minister Coady and Premier Ball to ignore these warnings is unconscionable.”

 

Contacts:

Bradley Russell

Director of Policy and Research

(p) 1.709.729.3668

(c) 1.709.685.3161

BradleyRussell@gov.nl.ca

 

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