Newfoundland premier moves motion to support Muskrat Falls despite protest

ST. JOHN’S, N.L. – About 35 protesters gathered outside the Newfoundland and Labrador legislature today as the provincial government held a curtailed debate on the Muskrat Falls hydro project.

Premier Kathy Dunderdale moved a private member’s motion that the house of assembly support the proposed project, which is estimated to cost between $7.5 billion and $7.7 billion.

Debate on private member’s motions is generally limited to a couple of hours.

Protester Con O’Brien says the private member’s motion is the latest affront to democracy as the government proceeds with the development.

He says Dunderdale is exposing the province to enormous financial risk for a project that has not cleared a regulated review.

But Dunderdale says Muskrat Falls has been endorsed by global energy consultants, though they have been hired by her government.

Now that Ottawa has offered a federal loan guarantee that would cut borrowing costs, the province and Nova Scotia private utility Emera (TSX:EMA) are expected to sanction the project in the coming weeks.