N.L. Privacy Commissioner allows Nalcor to withhold Muskrat Falls information
Records considered 'harmful to the economic interests of Nalcor and of the province'
Nalcor Energy is entitled to withhold certain information related to Muskrat Falls from the public, according to a report released Friday by Newfoundland and Labrador's Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner.
The decision comes after Nalcor denied a request to release cost estimates, risk analyses and schedules relating to the hydroelectric project.
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In its reasoning for refusing to release the information, the Crown corporation cited the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act and the Energy Corporation Act.
Nalcor stated "the disclosure of the information would be harmful to the economic interests of Nalcor and of the province," and that the records requested contained "commercially sensitive information."
The complainant, however, argued cost estimates were prepared specifically for the Muskrat Falls project and will not apply to future projects. The complainant said under those circumstances, the exceptions Nalcor cited did not apply.
Information and Privacy Commissioner Donovan Molloy sided with Nalcor. He said the release of the information directly affects ongoing negotiations, and would likely impact the potential future project.
"It is abundantly clear that the records themselves fall into the very broad category of 'commercially sensitive information,'" Molloy wrote regarding part of the requested information.
The privacy commissioner also recommended Nalcor continue to withhold the records in question.