A look at the Muskrat Falls ‘boondoggle’ in pictures

APTN News 
When announced in 2012, former premier Kathy Dunderdale said the Muskrat Falls hydroelectric dam proposal was the most scrutinized project in the province’s history – but some Labradorians say the project is unsafe – along with construction issues, Muskrat Falls has also faced protests and hunger strikes.

Here is a look at the project in pictures.

  • Billions and counting - the original cost of the Muskrat Falls hydroelectric project was $6-billion- it is now sitting at $12.7 billion.
  • People protesting the Muskrat Falls hydroelectric project call themselves Land Protectors. The protests at the site start in 2012 and become a regular event in 2016.
  • The response from officials to the growing protests is to set up what they call a protest pad or safe zone across the road from the main gate at Muskrat Falls. Labrador Land Protectors decided to call it the Peace Camp.
  • RCMP move in on Land Protectors in the early morning hours of Oct. 17, 2016. Police claim the Land Protectors refused to remain across the road from the Muskrat Falls construction site entrance.
  • According to people at the site, eight demonstrators are arrested.
  • People who live downstream from Muskrat Falls are worried about two things; Methylmercury produced when foliage and water mix, and what some believe is the unstable clay soil underneath the dam's North Spur.
  • In October 2016, Jerry Kohlmeister, left, Delilah Saunders, and Billy Gauthier go on a hunger strike to force the provincial government to study environmental issues related to Muskrat Falls. Gauthier says he went without food for 13 days.
  • Nalcor wins an injunction against Land Protectors in October 2016. The Land Protectors are ordered to stay away from the entrance to the Muskrat Falls construction site.
  • After the injunction is announced, more than two dozen Land Protectors break through the gates at the construction site and occupy Nalcor's offices. After the occupation ends, 18 men and 10 women faced a total of 60 charges that include disobeying a court order and taking a motor vehicle without consent.
  • In June 2017, Inuk Grandmother Beatrice Hunter is in court facing charges from the Nalcor occupation. She tells a judge that she will not comply with his order to stay away from the construction site. Hunter spends 11 days in Her Majesty's Penitentiary in St. John's, a thousand kilometres south of her home in Labrador.
  • A month later, Marjorie Flowers is incarcerated in St. John's for also telling a judge that she will not comply with his order to stay clear of the Muskrat Falls site.
  • The Independent Expert Advisory Committee (IEAC) was set up as a result of the hunger strike. It is to come up with a plan to deal with methylmercury at Muskrat Falls. Workers started collecting samples for testing. (Photo courtesy Prentiss Balcom)
  • Nalcor admits that methylmercury will be more prevalent than first reported. The company said it will monitor the level of toxins downstream and warn people downstream to reduce their intake of fish and wildlife if necessary. (Photo courtesy Prentiss Balcom)
  • In July 2017, seven massive generators were shipped from the south to the Muskrat Falls site.
  • Jim Learning, an Inuk Elder, faces civil charges for breaking the court injunction. He was jailed when he refused to promise a Supreme Court judge that he would follow the injunction. After several days in jail, he still refused to sign an undertaking to stay away from Muskrat Falls. He was willing to go back to jail but was placed on house arrest instead.
  • In August, Cole and a group of Land Protectors crash a meeting in Happy Valley-Goose Bay where Indigenous Affairs Minister Carolyn Bennett and Liberal Labrador MP Yvonne Jones were talking with constituents.
  • A month later, Cole and the Land Protectors travel to St. John's, NL and rally outside Nalcor headquarters.
  • Cole wants a meeting with Nalcor CEO Stan Marshall - instead, police are called. Marshall later agrees to participate in a sharing circle that will take place on Nov. 29.
  • On November 20, 2017, Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Dwight Ball calls an inquiry into the Muskrat Falls project. The terms of reference will look at the economic side of the project. Justice Richard Leblanc will start in January. Land Protectors say the inquiry will do nothing to protect them from flooding, and methylmercury poisoning.
  • According Ball, the Muskrat Falls generating station is 85 per cent complete and is scheduled to start producing 834 megawatts of electricity in 2020. At the moment, it is two years behind schedule.
  • Because of the ballooning costs of the project, it is expected that Newfoundlanders and Labradorians will pay more for hydro rates in the coming years.





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