Former Newfoundland and Labrador premier Brian Peckford says the Muskrat Falls megaproject needs an audit — immediately.

In an open letter to Premier Dwight Ball titled "Audit Muskrat Falls Project Now" and dated July 4, Peckford — premier of the province from March 1979 to March 1989 — calls Muskrat Falls an "ill-conceived project" from the moment of its announcement, and says his anxiety has increased over time.

Peckford cited Muskrat Falls's ballooning price tag, the SNC-Lavalin risk report, and what he said has been a lack of accountability and transparency.

'Years from now will be too late'

For the former premier — who said at the recent Newfoundland and Labrador Oil and Gas Industries Association conference that Muskrat Falls needs to be "rescued" — the risk report was the last straw, and he called on Ball for a full audit.

"I call on you now to authorize through your administration a formal forensic audit and that you will also authorize a public inquiry if circumstances warrant it as a result of the audit," he wrote, adding that he didn't accept the argument that an audit would slow down the now $12.7-billion project, increasing costs even more.

"Time is now the enemy of the good — to anyone ever finding out what happened. A number of years from now will be too late — new circumstances, different political dynamics, will mitigate against the real answers being discovered."