Friday, November 2, 2012


Frankly, there are those engaged in the debate on Muskrat Falls whose opinions mean very little to me.

These people are so myopic, extreme, and politically biased as to add nothing to the discussion but vitriol. 

Of course, there are many who think that I should stop writing my blog. Like a former member of the Liberal Party’s Executive Board, who believes it is better to suppresses legitimate opinions than broadcast them.

Among those that I think offer much to the discussion is Telegram Blogger Geoff Meeker.  Let me be clear, I do not feel that the guy is unbiased, but I think he is doing his best to present the debate in the context of the issues that are important to any person who truly wants to be informed.

He has dug in, and dug in deep, to ask pertinent questions. He has asked questions that need to be asked. This is an important debate, questions need to be answered, even if they have been addressed before.

Up to this point, the debate has been dominated( and ring fenced) by the overwhelming financial resources of government and Nalcor. Up to this point, voices in opposition to the project, or voices of reason requesting more information, have been written off as malcontents, shit disturbers and of having nothing to add to the discussion.

Meanwhile, the government’s position on the need for the project has shifted with the wind, so has the cost and scope of the project. A virtual game of spin-the-wheel for this weeks rationale for proceeding.

A week or so ago 2041 Energy Inc asked a question about Water Resource Management Rights suggesting that Hydro Quebec had a veto over how much water could flow through the turbines at Muskrat. I kept waiting for the CBC, VOCM or The Telegram to run a story negating or supporting the premise put forward by Bern Coffee.  I really did not feel that the issue was adequately addressed. Certainly Nalcor’s rebuttal of Bern Coffey’s point did not cut it.

Yesterday, the CBC in Nova Scotia bit into the story with a vengeance. They talked to Nalcor, Quebec Hydro and representatives from 2041. The result, 2041’s suggestion was not outlandish. The issue of water resources is not settled.

Nalcor says they have a “pretty good deal of confidence”. I am sorry but a pretty good deal of confidence makes me see a little red. Legal questions have not been settled and a legal fight with Quebec Hydro is still possible. So much for getting around Quebec. In the meantime, Quebec Hydro is keeping it’s legal cards very close to their heinous chest.

Frankly, I can not believe that an issues as important as the flow of water needed to generate electricity for transmission to the island and export to Nova Scotia and the New England States has not been concretely dealt with.

Do not believe me, listen to the CBC Nova Scotia Interview. Listen to Nalcor’s answer to the Water Right's Management Question.

Besides shaking people’s confidence in Nalcor and the province’s leadership, the issues prominence in the Nova Scotia media re-enforces another fact, Emera’s involvement in this project is still not carved in stone.

As I have been saying for months, give me a reason to support this project besides smoke and Emera.  

This weeks miscalculation with the energy calculator and now the “pretty good deal of confidence” on Water Rights has not increased my confidence, what has it done for yours?


Anonymous said...

Quite nicely...Just read "Meeker on Media & Churchill River Water Management" John Samms' blog Pressing Politics. I cannot understand how Nalcor's engineers and all the experts involved in the project would let something like water management become a problem. However I wonder about Coffey and the rest of the so called know it alls.

Anonymous said...

"More Muskrat Missteps" I do not believe there are. Could it be that Coffey and the rest of them don't know what they are talking about if so they should come out with an apology. Mr Martin at the request (I think) of Ted from CBC Radio was on replying to what Lorraine Michael was saying on his previous show. It is sad that the project has come to this. Could it be all about politics?

Cyril Rogers said...

Peter, my confidence level in Muskrat Falls dropped dramatically about a week after the announcement and Danny's sudden resignation. It was clear to me then that something had been orchestrated even though the waters were still murky.

So many uncertainties and so few reassurances, except for the glib comments of NALCOR and the Premier!

Another thought: If, and when, this project tops $8 BILLION(for us)the interest costs alone will go up to about $500 MILLION per year or, alternatively, the government will have to deprive the provincial treasury of some $4 BILLION desperately-needed dollars that could have been used for essential infrastructure. Either way we will pay for their reckless rush to embrace this project. I base my comments on the history of other mega dam projects which invariably go 40-50% over projected costs, and sometimes more.

Think of it this way, Peter. We have only 28 years to get to all the free power we will ever need. Well, not totally free, of course, since it would require a transmission line to the island, if necessary. However, we may not EVER need that line, if:

the Corner Brook Mill shuts down;

our population decreases;

we build future homes with more efficient heating systems;

we adopt sensible conservation measures;

we incorporate some wind;

we upgrade Holyrood or replace it with a more efficient system, bearing in mind that NALCOR fully intends to install other fuel-burning systems to provide backup power anyway; and,

we develop some of our smaller hydro resources on the Island

Some of these options will cost us money, to be sure, but can be developed incrementally, and at far less strain on the provincial treasury or our wallets.

Peter L. Whittle said...

I heard the interview with CBC Radio. I though Martin did a decent job of addressing two issues raised by the NDP leader. He admitted that the calculator is not a definite representation of future electricity bills.

How ever on the issue of this post, with regards to a water reservoir for muskrat and water rights, the jury is out. I have issues with that. If anything, perhaps it is Coffey that is owed an apology for Nalcor early dismissal of his point