Muskrat Falls critics welcome house of assembly debate
Natural Resources Minister Kennedy now agrees it's "appropriate"
Two outspoken critics of the government's proposed Muskrat Falls hydroelectric development are pleased the project will be debated in Newfoundland and Labrador's legislature.
The decision to debate the proposal was announced Monday after the province’s Public Utilities Board released a report saying it does not have enough information to determine whether Muskrat Falls is the best long-term power option for the province.
Retired senior civil servants.Ron Penney and David Vardy have been calling on the Dunderdale government and Nalcor to look at more alternatives to the $6.2 billion project.
Penney said Monday he welcomes the debate.
"The advantage is that it will focus the house of assembly, focus the public on this issue … but to me it cannot be the end of the process," he said.
Penney argued the Public Utilities Board should remain part of the process.
Vardy agreed, saying the board provides a voice for the public.
"In addition to the open line shows and other vehicles, I think the Public Utilities Board is a really good way for the public to communicate to government," he said.
The provincial government said the debate will be held after consultants conduct another review of the Muskrat Falls plans. They'll also look at other potential sources of energy, including natural gas and wind power.
Just over a week ago, Natural Resources Minister Jerome Kennedy rejected the idea of debating the Muskrat Falls proposal in the house.
Tuesday on the CBC's St. John's Morning Show, Kennedy said he has changed his mind.
"At this point to ensure that the people of the province have all of the information that they need and that it is debated fully we decided that a debate in the house of assembly would be appropriate," said Kennedy.
In its report, the PUB said Nalcor did not provided enough information to determine whether developing the site on the Lower Churchill River would provide the cheapest source of power for the island of Newfoundland.