N.L. premier testifies at inquiry into controversial Muskrat Falls dam


Industry Energy cost overruns Dam energy hydro infrastructure Muskrat Falls Newfoundland and Labrador Operations

Dwight Ball has panned the project as historic mistake.

Muskrat Falls, spillway and north dam.
Photo: Nalcor

ST. JOHN’S, N.L.—Newfoundland and Labrador’s premier says the joy of his 2015 election victory was short-lived as he began to realize the dire financial situation brought on by the Muskrat Falls project’s runaway costs.

Liberal Premier Dwight Ball is on the stand this morning at the public inquiry into cost and schedule overruns that have plagued the controversial hydro dam on Labrador’s lower Churchill River.

The 824-megawatt dam has essentially doubled in costs to more than $12.7 billion since it was sanctioned by a former Progressive Conservative government in 2012.

Related: Renewed fears of megaproject’s potential health impact on Indigenous communities [Cleantech Canada]


Ball, who called the inquiry under intense public pressure, has called the project “the greatest fiscal mistake in Newfoundland and Labrador’s history.”

The inquiry has heard from a parade of past and present government officials, bureaucrats and energy executives, some of whom have suggested project risks had been intentionally downplayed.

Ball said just a few months into his government he was becoming seriously concerned about estimates presented to him and said he no longer trusted Crown corporation Nalcor Energy to carry out unsupervised negotiations with financially troubled Italian construction company Astaldi.


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