"Let me be clear.
It may be the best project ever"
Former P.C. Premier
The demand for a "real" independent review of Nalcor's proposed Muskrat Falls project continues to pick-up momentum as a choir of Progressive Conservative faithful question the project.
Over the weekend, I posted that the growing opposition from "leading intellectuals, policy makers and independent voices" needed to be heeded. When the province's own Public Utilities Board is not given time to give a project of this significance the time, attention and detail that it needs, you have to wonder what is on the go. What is the rush, people have been asking? Why not allow a look at the alternatives that have been ruled out? Why not give the PUB more time?
Now a former Newfoundland and Labrador Premier, a nationalist who fought tooth and nail to redress the vexed Upper Churchill contract, has joined the fray demanding an independent review of the project. Brian Peckford says there is too much at stake to proceed with out more study.
Peckford's message sounds very much like the position taken by the provincial Liberals in the recent election campaign. He wants a panel of internationally recognized experts to assess the project before it is sanctioned.
He says the the PUB does not have the time, nor the experienced staff to "evaluate this project" which he says was thrust into their lap.Premier refused to grant the PUB any further extensions. A deadline of March 31st was imposed buy government for the PUB to finish its review. Chair Andy Wells, was the Consumer Advocate when Peckford was Premier.
A C.D. Howe Institute report by Memorial University of Newfoundland economy professor James Feehan says the government could lower its energy consumption without risking $6.3 billion, some of which will be subsidized by the federal government, much to Quebec's dismay.
The Progressive Conservative family is not the only one in the province to be split by the proposed mega project. A story in the Chronicle-Herald last week looked at the hurdles facing the project in this province including the disagreement between Innu elder Elizabeth Penashue and her son, Labrador M.P. Peter Penashue, who is the federal Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs - who supports the project.
Ironically, according to past polling, there may be more division amongst PC's in the province than with the public. I am confident that the public's support and confidence in the project is eroding with every new voice that opposes going forward without an "independent inquiry"
At least give the PUB the time to do its work properly.