Muskrat Falls questions still relevant after five years of asking
Since the original announcement of the Muskrat Falls project, says NDP House Leader Lorraine Michael (MHA, St. John’s East-Quidi Vidi), her caucus has been asking questions calling for greater transparency around the project’s contracts and terms, as well as the impact of its costs on consumers’ household budgets. While the NDP used Question Period in the House to point out a particular new discrepancy, she added, the others have remained constant through four premiers and two governments.
“Nalcor CEO Ed Martin has said Muskrat Falls construction contracts were unit priced and that those prices were fixed, helping to provide some cost certainty for the project budget,” Michael said in the House today.
“EY reports that in reality the MFG concrete contract is based on person-hours of labour expended rather than the amount of concrete poured. I ask the Premier, is Mr. Martin right and EY wrong, or is EY right and Mr. Martin wrong?”
She says if contracts have been negotiated based on hours worked rather than work completed, there is no surprise that costs are skyrocketing.
The NDP has renewed its longstanding call for the Public Utilities Board to be given a true opportunity to review the Muskrat Falls project. St. John’s Centre MHA Gerry Rogers added her voice to demand evidence used by the Minister that it would cost more to stop the project than to proceed with it.
“The Minister of Natural Resources has again said the Muskrat Falls project is too far along to stop,” Rogers said in the House of Assembly today. “I ask the Minister, if her government believes in evidence-based decision making, will she table the specific evidence and decision-making process she used to base her decision on?”
Rogers also wants to know the new estimate for consumers’ power bills. The most recent Nalcor estimate, last fall, saw electricity costs rising by 53 per cent by 2020 and Rogers says government should release the revised estimate.