Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Kathy Dunderdale says she is not anxious about objections to Muskrat Falls' Maritime Link raised by the newly elected Liberal government in Nova Scotia.
Andrew Younger, Nova Scotia's energy minister, has listed eight new conditions for supporting the Maritime Link. The link will funnel hydroelectric power generated at Muskrat Falls in central Labrador across the Cabot Strait to Nova Scotia.
In effect, Nova Scotia is demanding stronger guarantees of a secure supply of power at a low price.
But Dunderdale, whose government has been pushing ahead with construction on the multi-billion-dollar Muskrat Falls project, said she does not see Younger's concerns — made in a presentation to the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board — as a serious impediment.
"There's nothing there that's troublesome to us," said Dunderdale, adding that "we need to firm up the language" that will satisfy all parties.
Dunderdale told reporters that most of the eight conditions have already been meet or can be dealt with easily.
Newfoundland and Labrador is developing Muskrat Falls with partners Nalcor Energy, the Crown-owned energy corporation in Newfoundland, and Halifax-based Emera Inc. The Nova Scotia government, while not a partner, is key to the project.
Dunderdale pointed out that the Nova Scotia government has only been in office since winning the election in October, and that ministers and officials are coming to grips with the complexities of the project.
"They need to get up to scratch," she said. "Trying to get the depth of understanding that gives them comfort is a challenge for them at the moment."
Dwight Ball, Newfoundland and Labrador's Opposition leader, has his doubts, and said Newfoundland and Labrador is paying the penalty for proceeding with Muskrat Falls without having Nova Scotia completely on board.
"How did it get so bad that this province is spending $1 million a day and the province of Nova Scotia is responsible for zero?" Ball told the house of assembly.
"How is this not a weak bargaining position or negotiating position for our ratepayers?"