In response to public pressure over the many project failures arising from Nalcor Energy’s construction of the massive Muskrat Falls megadam on the Churchill River, the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador established the Commission of Inquiry Respecting the Muskrat Falls project on November 20, 2017, in accordance with Part I of the Public Inquiries Act, 2006. Justice Richard LeBlanc was appointed Commissioner. The Government maintains a website on the Inquiry and testimony is broadcast live. www.muskratfallsinquiry.ca
The findings of the Inquiry has been released and can be accessed here.
For a brief summary of the Inquiry and important excerpts, click here.
The Grand Riverkeeper and Labrador Land Protectors played a pivotal role in urging the Government to establish the Inquiry, collecting over 1,000 signatures in the small community of Happy-Valley Goose Bay and surrounding areas.
The Inquiry is charged with looking into these topics relating to mismanagement and cost overruns. The list of topics is:
- The consideration by Nalcor Energy of options to address the electricity needs of Newfoundland and Labrador’s island interconnected system customers that informed Nalcor’s decision to recommend that the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador sanction, or approve, the Muskrat Falls Project.
- Why there are significant differences between the estimated costs of the Project at the time of approval in and the costs incurred by Nalcor during Project execution (the current cost in 2019 is over $12 billion);
- Whether the determination that the Project should be exempt from oversight by the Board of Commissioners of Public Utilities was justified and reasonable and what was the effect of this exemption, if any, on the development, costs and operation of the Project; and
- Whether the Government was fully informed and was made aware of any risks or problems anticipated with the Project, so that it had sufficient and accurate information upon which to appropriately decide to sanction the Project and whether it employed appropriate measures to oversee the Project, focusing on governance arrangements and decision-making processes associated with the Project.
A 2019 Telegraph article can be viewed here.