Muskrat Falls oversight committee to provide public updates
The provincial government announced details on Monday about a committee it says will provide an enhanced overview of the Muskrat Falls hydroelectric project.
The committee will consist of government bureaucrats, and will provide quarterly reports to update the public on the mega-project.
Natural Resources Minister Derrick Dalley said there has been more information made public about the Muskrat Falls project than any other project in the province's history.
However, with growing skepticism of government and the project, there has been a push toward greater oversight.
"It is a priority for our government to ensure information on the Muskrat Falls project will continue to be made available to the public while still protecting the commercial interests of the project."
But the opposition is skeptical about how effective a committee made up of bureaucrats will be.
"A committee of bureaucrats reporting to cabinet is really just merely window dressing," Liberal leader Dwight Ball said.
"What is needed is accountability, and one option was calling in the Auditor General to review the operations of Nalcor."
NDP leader Lorraine Michael said this kind of overview can't be considered truly independent.
"The oversight being touted by the minister is still missing the truly independent oversight of an independent body, such as the Public Utilities Board," she said.
Ball said the committee is being put together too late in the game to make any real difference.
"With so much taxpayer money on the line, why did you wait until there was almost $5 billion spent before you added this oversight?" he said.
Premier Tom Marshall said the government was responding to a push from the public for the province to provide more insight into the project as it moves forward, so that's what they did.
The first report from the committee is expected in July.