Okay, I was halfway to believing the argument Muskrat Falls hydroelectric-generated power would be good for this province’s future development.
This development, in conjunction with Nova Scotia, would provide low cost energy for residents around the year 2017 and the province could make some additional bucks on excess power by marketing to the United States through Nova Scotia’s power corridor.
Then a group of lawyers (the 2041 group), led by Richard Cashin, appeared on the scene and in conjunction with the province’s Liberals started to throw around doubts about whether Muskrat Falls power at $8 billion was really needed and if the price of electricity would actually be more attractive in relation to the price of oil in 2017.
Last week, Premier Kathy Dunderdale spoke to the St. John’s Board of Trade and said the extra power was needed for the development of Labrador, in particular the mining interests there. She even brought out the old trump card about the ‘evil province of Quebec’ that was trying to stymie the development of Labrador, but if development does goes ahead only on that province’s terms.
In tandem, a group of Newfoundland and Labrador businesspeople – numbering about 200 and led by Peter Woodward of Happy Valley-Goose Bay – has decided to come out and support the Muskrat Falls’ development for the future prosperity of this province. And former Premier Danny Williams declared he has another statement to make in a week or so to again reiterate his support of the project and how beneficial it will be for Newfoundlanders and Labradorians.
Yet, Prime Minister Stephen Harper wasn’t ready to approve the federal loan guarantee promised during the spring election campaign until the latest review by Manitoba Hydro and final development costs are available. The only certainty is it will likely be more than the original $6.2 billion touted during in the original announcement.
So is this project good or bad for the province? To be honest, the answers are so varied from different sources it’s difficult to decipher.
For the majority of residents, the debate on the project in the Legislature this fall will be pivotal for anyone who’s interested.
What’s sure now, is the debate/information being disclosed so far is too technical for the average individual and the politicians are going to have to do a better sell job than they have to date to bring everyone on side.
George Macvicar, Editor/Manager