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Muskrat Falls project ‘over-governed’: Nalcor CEO

Nalcor Energy president and CEO Stan Marshall speaks Thursday at an event in the Bruneau Centre at Memorial University.
Nalcor Energy president and CEO Stan Marshall speaks Thursday at an event in the Bruneau Centre at Memorial University. - Ashley Fitzpatrick

But great headway made on construction in 2017, Stan Marshall says

Ahead of a public inquiry into the Muskrat Falls hydroelectric project, Nalcor Energy president and CEO Stan Marshall has offered his hypothesis on what went wrong.

As part of a public talk at the St. John’s campus of Memorial University of Newfoundland (MUN) Thursday night, Marshall repeated comments made to the media in past public updates — that the energy project was overly optimistic in its initial cost estimates and was not necessary to meet the energy needs of the province.

He also highlighted project reviews, consultant reviews and oversight to date.

“This has been the most over-governed project ever,” he said.

While critical of early decisions around the megaproject, Marshall said Nalcor Energy and its contractors made great headway over the last year, particularly at the main dam, and made a point to congratulate both project management and the workers at the site.

“It was an outstanding year. It’s a tribute to those people who worked on it,” he said, describing each portion of the construction work.

He said at this point he doesn’t see a reason to further push back expected in-service dates.

He also spoke about his previous commentary of the project, looking to the future, saying people in the audience should look at the project as a whole and stop focusing on the “minutiae.”

“There’s benefits to this,” he said.

He highlighted the safety record on the project, and said with conviction the North Spur — a physical feature at the main dam infrastructure — is secure, and no one downstream will be harmed by methylmercury from flooding.

Marshall spoke at the MUN Bruneau Centre as a guest of the department of economics.

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