Thursday, 14 September 2017

PREMIER NEEDS QUEBEC JUDGE'S HELP ON FORENSIC AUDIT

GUEST POST WRITTEN BY CABOT MARTIN

So is the Muskrat fat finally in the fire?
Premier Ball’s nostrils are definitely offended by the stink from Muskrat Falls but it’s Nalcor’s method of paying it’s top end workers that seems to be the immediate cause.

We’ll have an inquiry into Muskrat, he says, and it will even start before the site is deserted. We are working on the Terms of Reference, he says, 
... and this employment contract mess will be included and, of course, we cannot delay the project.
Opps!

A curious turn of logic. Big problem – long finger.
Premier – you are on the mark with the need for a Public Inquiry but you need a road map to get there.


All these thousands of gold plated hourly rate personal labor arrangements (covering it is said some 4.6 million person hours at $100 to $250 and higher per hour) are something that will not be acceptable to many – the opportunity for abuse is exacerbated by Nalcor’s obviously dysfunctional management process.

Moreover, Nalcor’s use of thousands of individual paper contracts has, Nalcor says, created a nearly impenetrable thicket of paper – contracts in an easily retrievable digital format having been apparently beyond Nalcor’s world class technical capabilities.

Tackling this pile of paper out of the gate could develop into a very time consuming sidetrack – something better covered in Phase Two of any Inquiry perhaps.
Because when you are going hunting for tigers best not to be distracted by rabbit tracks – particularly when there are so many of them.
Inclusion of such matters would certainly bedevil the Terms of Reference drafting process –  “protection of individual privacy” legal arguments would see to that.
No, best to cut to the chase – 
The first order of business of any Muskrat Inquiry must be to address whether the Muskrat Project has been warped by some sort of serious high level corruption or actionable civil deceit.
And who in a position of Trust and Power has knowingly participated in or deliberately turned a blind eye to that situation, if indeed that is what has been going on.

But why think that such could be the case?
After all, this is a horrible thought – that this small society could be home to such “world class” organized crime – with such devastating effect.

No, facing the mere possibility this may be true does not come easy.
But we simply have to look at it objectively.

For a start, I think everyone can accept that those billions of “excess” oil revenues, brought to Provincial coffers by temporarily sky high oil prices, had to be like the sweetest honey to people whose stock and trade is theft. So much money in so few newly rich hands.
And we did engage SNC Lavalin to play a central role in the Muskrat project at a time when they were definitely going through a “dirty” period.

Indeed, SNC Lavalin has over the last few years made much of all the measures that the new management team has taken to clean the company up from the bad old days.
Indeed, they were so bad that for a period SNC Lavalin was even disqualified from bidding on Canadian Federal Government contracts which given their political connections was really something.

Indeed, the two main lads that Nalcor management were dealing with (SNC Lavalin CEO Pierre Duhaime and SNC Lavalin VP Riadh ben Aissa) were the very lads fingered as the main corporate culprits and are still in various states of incarceration.
Their escapades are of direct interest to us. Sure Aissa for a time was working out of Mount Pearl.

According to La Presse, Quebec’s foremost French language newspaper, as just one of their corrupt ventures, SNC Lavalin set up a $56 million bribery fund for two unnamed projects. They then laundered that cash around the banking world a few times and used $22.5 million to bribe their way into a $1.3 billion McGill University hospital construction contract in Montreal.
For a rather breathless account of the adventures of Duhaime and Aissa in Montreal and Libya see this Globe & Mail article.

These lads were definitely “players” and still had $30 million or so in the Bribe Fund to grease up Project B which has never been identified.
The possibility that some or all of that $30 million was used on Muskrat Falls should be covered off in paragraph 1 of the Terms of Reference.

Because unless the Terms of Reference state very specifically that SNC Lavalin’s activities are covered, any time an intervenor or Inquiry lawyer goes near that question, SNC Lavalin’s lawyers will be objecting and appealing like crazy.
And make no mistake a Judicial or Public Inquiry will be like that -- long, detailed, tedium punctuated with evidence invoking sheer public outrage - and crawling with lawyers.

But, of course, without more evidence than a feeling in the pit of one’s stomach that something may well be very rotten in the State of Denmark, politically a Ball Government is not likely to focus on SNC Lavalin in the Terms of Reference based on the notion that dirty in Montreal could mean dirty in St. John’s – as reasonable as that may sound to many.
SNC Lavalin is a major corporate pillar of Quebec with many friends in Ottawa – no - something more will be needed.

Which brings me to the Horse and the Cart and their well known proper order.
The Horse, in this case being a wide ranging, skillfully conducted Forensic Audit and the Cart being an equally vigorous Public Inquiry.

Because, is not the SNC issue and how it should be handled but one example out of many which demonstrate that it is impossible to properly draft Terms of Reference for a Muskrat Public Inquiry unless you have at least some idea of the range of problems you are dealing with?

And if this could be a case of massive fraud or massive civil deceit that situation will become quickly obvious to any Forensic Auditor worth their salt -- provided they have previous extensive, hands-on experience with fraud on major construction projects.

NOTE TO PREMIER:  Newfoundland has never been through anything like this before so you need to go outside the Province; best to call Madame Justice France Charbonneau of the Quebec Superior Court. As head of the recent Charbonneau Commission into corruption in the Quebec Construction Industry, she knows the “dirty” version of SNC Lavalin well (especially Duhaime and Aissa); she can, I am sure, recommend Forensic Auditors with the right background.

Madam Justice France Charbonneau earned a reputation as a fearless Prosecutor. As Quebec Superior Court Justice, in 2011, she was asked by the Charest Government to head an Inquiry into corruption in Quebec's construction industry.
But the Premier should not let the trail grow cold because this will be hard enough anyway and even an interim report on the possibility of corruption would certainly be helpful to those drafting the Inquiry’s Terms of Reference.
In other words, a Forensic Audit first would help focus, not unduly delay, the results of a Public Inquiry.

Interestingly enough, addressing clearly the civil deceit possibility may also serve to provide guidance as to how we might negotiate or litigate our way out of this Muskrat mess at a lower cost.
Back on May 15, 2017 I posted a piece on civil deceit in relation to Muskrat on Uncle Gnarley.

My main point was that under Canadian law (as expressed by the Supreme Court of Canada in the 2014 case of Bruno Appliance and Furniture against Hryniak), contracts founded on civil (let alone criminal) deceit are not valid and cannot be enforced.
And that applies, in particular, to Nalcor’s dealings with Emera over in Halifax where their rate payers are up in arms that the delay in completing Muskrat is costing them money; it won’t be long before Emera will be asking Nalcor (us) to start compensating them (ie. another rate increase for us !).

At the risk of totally putting you to sleep, at this point I’d suggest you at least flip through my May Uncle Gnarley post entitled Of Deceit, Emera and Muskrat Madness.
Note that to properly base a case of civil (as opposed to criminal) deceit, evil intention need not be proven. So even if Emera was “only” reckless about their cosy arrangements with Nalcor that could be enough to ground a successful action in civil deceit.

That is, in such a case, the Province – and you rate/taxpayer - would in great part be off the hook for the consequences of stopping the project in its tracks – now - something that the North Spur situation demands anyway.
In other words, if deceit of any kind were shown to be involved, all the “End of the World” arguments one hears bandied about re the impact of stopping the Project would be swept away and the cost of stopping the project would be drastically reduced.

This position rests on the fact that those projected big “stopping” costs are based on the assumption that we must pay in full the claims by contractors under the cancellation and penalty clauses in Nalcor’s many contracts plus perhaps even larger Emera damages.

However according to the Supreme Court of Canada all these cancellation clauses must meet the test of reasonableness by industry standards. Emera and any contractor who knew (or was reckless and should have known) that such penalties had been inflated for odious purposes would not have a legal leg to stand on.
In summarizing the law in this area, Judges and Lawyers often quote the Greek philosopher Sophocles who way back around 420 BC said – Things gained through unjust fraud are never secure. 

The reader is forgiven at this point for wanting to turn away in disbelief – it all sounds too grim; too much to contemplate.
But if the Anonymous Engineer did in fact see people on the Muskrat project deliberately cooking the books to achieve Project Sanction (and his account has never been refuted by Nalcor or anybody else in spite of the most widespread dissemination via the Uncle Gnarley Blog), is it really implausible that someone would also play fast and loose with cancellation penalties to help make sure the Project was not stopped once started?

No, sorry, but we must bite the bullet - we need a Forensic Audit first before we rush off into drafting Terms of Reference for a Public Inquiry.
We need to set out clear and proper Terms of Reference for our Muskrat Public Inquiry – Terms of Reference fit for the purpose.

And to do that, we need to know in particular if we are dealing with “just” another (though hideously massive) Government “Boondoggle” -- or something altogether more sinister.

This all sounds too impossible to pull off, too traumatic, too earthshaking, just plain too much?
Then what do you think living with the costs of Muskrat is going to be like if we don’t pull off a Hail Mary pass ?

And by costs, I do not mean
“just” our increased light bills,

or “just” our increased provincial debt,
or “just” our future sky high taxes,

or “just” the population loss,
or “just” our weakness in the face of every two-bit hustler who will descend to pick us clean,

or “just” the predictable price that Ottawa will extract when we have to go to them cap in hand to stay afloat.
No, all that to be sure, but I am also talking about the cost of the loss of our very souls as a people.

36 comments:

  1. Wow!! What a. Can of worms. In court for ever and nothing gained. Best get some common sence legal and jurdisical advice first. Think some broad strokes are required. Shut muskrat down first...now you have everyone's serious attention. Second dissolve NALCOR. Go back to square one. Default on as many contracts as possible, see how much we can get back from this fire sale. Let the companies et al come sue us, as the old saying goes, you can't get blood from a turnip, and in this case you can't put the turnip in jail, .....the government...the people. Default on the loan guarantee, let Ottawa take that over, that was done in bad faith by Harper anyway. I say bring it all to a grinding hault, and let the chips fall where they may.

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  2. Congratulations Cabot on coming to the conclusion that SNC Lavalin, Duhaime and Ben Aissa, might have been up to the same corrupt practices in NL that they employed in Quebec and overseas. Better late than never!

    Some of us asked these questions PRIOR to sanctioning. Some of us begged the St. John's Vision 2041 lawyers back then to take legal action to stop the unfolding fraud. I pointed out that Ben Aissa's actions including incorporation in NL closely resembled his fraudulent actions abroad. I asked why nobody seemed interested in who the "Agents" that arranged the MF contracts were and where that money landed. Was it laundered like the other projects Ben Aissa facilitated? Crickets from you and the legal beagles who ostensibly were showing concern about the viability of the Muskrat Falls project.

    It was curious then, it seems curious now that no interest was shown in following the money. Better late than never a cynic might say. Time to get off your collective legal backsides and finally do some lawyering, don't you think? It is long past time that you also got your fair share of abuse from the Laird of Gall Way.

    You have finally caught the scent, intrepid bloodhound that you are. Lets see if you can follow the trail!

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  3. Yes indeed, how much longer can the Prime Minister, who just gathered the Liberal faithful in Sin Jawns, and the newly appointed Seamus, ignore the demand for forensics on the Muskrat? SNC has had a long checkered history with the Liberals/Tories.

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  4. Oh that stench circulating the halls of the Confederation Building now.

    Nalcor and accomplices, you are on notice.

    I agree we can't let this 'embedded worker' thing be the focus. My initial thought was this is a ploy to divert attention from the bigger issues and more prominent players. Awesome post Cabot. Really lays it out there for ease of comprehension. Thanks.

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  5. The drafting of the terms of reference for an inquiry and the inquiry itself seems to be more difficult, time consuming and costly than all the mistakes made so far on the Muskrat Falls project. I have now changed my mind. Forget the inquiry, finish the project if we can and start paying the piper for the colossal mistakes of our elected politicians past and present and their excessively overpaid henchmen both past and present.

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    1. No sir. Your first sentence makes very little sense. It was only the other day that Ball even mentioned working on a terms of reference. If you believe that they've been working on it already then you'd be of the minority who think that way.

      If you think it will cost more than the 'mistakes' already made then you are sadly mistaken. I will gladly pay an extra 'cent per'... I mean, what's the difference between 20 and 21... to know if indeed this was a colossal mistake as you put it or colossal fraud which is more likely the case.

      2-3 billion over can be passed as a colossal mistake or incompetence. 5-7 billion over and possibly more with what we already know suggests EVERYONE is either incompetent or some were indeed fraudulent. I'd hate to think every professional linked to MF is lousy at what they do so I'll go with fraudulent as my own opinion.

      Between suspect contracts, free-for-all hourly invoicing, lack of geotechnical work, Stan stating he knew from the outset this was something he would not touch, Bill 29, no PUB oversight and the list goes on makes it worthwhile to see who is responsible.

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    2. Don't we already know who all and sundry are responsible?

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    3. I bet the list runs deep and involves all political stripes.

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    4. Anonymous at 12:39 - Are you kidding or what?.. "more costly than all the mistakes made so far" ??

      If my math is correct, and the Audit/Inquiry combo meal costs 12.5 million dollars (as an example), then it will cost 1 tenth of one percent of the 12.5 billion that we've (already) spewed out on this fraudulent project. The mistakes (or fraudulent corruption disguised as such) have cost far and away more than 12.5 million. I have heard stories to the effect that they've literally dumped that much in the trash in discarded (useable) materials and likely far more.

      Given that we have no real idea how much more it will cost to "finish" the project, (if that can happen before the North Spur bursts open, kills people and destroys the project), then we'd be pure stupid not to proceed with this very wise investment NOW.

      To think otherwise seems pure folly to me, (or political trolling), unless I'm missing something here.

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    5. I've talked to some of the workers and was told 30 towers have fell over. Only 2 were named in the news because of the men that died. Also upwards of 150 tower bases are crumbled due to the cement foundering and the steel bases have cracked. Saw pictures of this with my own eyes. Now the same companies have to go back in and replace everything except the towers. So that shows how much quality there is. How many more towers will fail over time.

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    6. The whole concept of remote generation, long transmission lines to low growth, low demand urban areas is a complex problem. The weakest link in the Muskrat plan is the vulnerability of the transmission along the Northern peninsula. Winston and others have pointed this out from the start. But the Cable guys were always all knowing, and we have towers failing before the juice is flowing.Think of the legacy and the costs to maintain flow, all at the cost of ratepayers.

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    7. Anpn 11:53, If true this story about 30 failed towers is frightening but not unexpected. Nalcor ignored Manitoba Hydro recommendation that the towers be built to 1 in 500 year standards.

      I hope UG can soon get independent confirmation of tower failure.

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  6. BCUC warned of Site C risks;

    https://thetyee.ca/News/2017/09/13/Utilities-Commission-Warned-Site-C-Cost-Overruns-Delays/

    Comparisons with Muskrat persist. There were/are alternatives to expensive hydro.

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  7. It is rather pathetic to read and hear about the so called opposition to Muskrat Falls coming from the St. John's business community and retired civil servants. Just listen to Dorothy Keating whine about tax reform at the federal level but try and get word from her about Muskrat Falls and you will almost certainly hear a pin drop. The same is for Richard Alexander and his relentless pursuit of poverty for civil servants but Muskrat Falls? Puff!!! Like air out of a half filled balloon. And now Cabot Martin miraculously is finding some bribery scheme in SNC Lavilin's pursuit of the Muskrat Falls contract. We have retired civil servants like Andy Wells all of a sudden in a relentless pursuit of the truth but did they put their jobs on the line when Danny Williams crammed it down our throat with near threats to any opposition. Nope!!! The same can be said of the opposition parties who saw a few construction jobs in their sights but the costs? That is for another generation. The Go Danny Go mentality was what caused this mess and not some misguided theory about bribes or contracts and PLEASE!!! Stop asking for an inquiry that will cost in the millions, dig up a few tidbits of news and leave the main culprits walk scot free. This mess is for us and future generations and is indicative of the NL politicians mentality of jobs at all cost and blame Quebec for our own misguided mess. I like many NL'ers are fed up with the political elite who somehow think it is fit for them to spend our money at their leisure.

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  8. What on earth would have caused Premier Ball to get a bad smell - olfactory surgery I guess. He did not get a smell before as he was waiting until construction was completed, and a judicial committee assembled - in 2022!!
    With him initiating an audit now - forensic first, judicial next, what are his little poodles and lap dogs to do. ( CEO Stan Marshall, Minister Coady, Consumer Advocate Dennis Browne, and the AG.) They will have to get new sheets of music to sing from and will cost them 25 cents a page.

    David Lean

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    1. A glimmer of investigative intent?

      http://www.thetelegram.com/news/local/2017/9/15/ball-demands-answers-from-nalcor-about-muskrat-falls-contractors.html

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  9. https://goo.gl/bJucWD Humanitarian, religious and spiritual, environmental, economic, political, legal, legal and historical public items supporting Labrador, Labradorians, The Labrador Land Protectors Civil Rights Movement, NunatuKavut, Nunatsiavut, Innu Nation and Qalipu First Nation Campaigning against Nalcor Crown Corporation Hydro project, Muskrat Falls, Newfoundland and Labrador [NL] Canada

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  10. It is certainly logical that a forensic audit should proceed a public inquiry. The result of the audit would focus the writing of the terms of reference of the Public Inquiry. Otherwise the Inquiry would be restricted in it`s scope and protect the scallywags of this fiasco.
    I trust the audit would review engineering decisions such as evaded the high risk of reliable transmission. The statement that SALT was not a contaminant for the DC line across the Great Northern Peninsula is outrageously false, being about 10 times worse than much of the existing island. The same goes for false power demands, and the obvious deliberate avoidance of energy efficiency alternatives. There is much clever manipulation of engineering data, reinforced by consultants (with clever caveats to cover their ass).......to permit the steam roller sanction to proceed.
    For this to happen, it is not the result of just a few scallywags, there are many, who profited in some way, and many others who just turned a blind eye, and kept their silence.
    But to not stop the project now is to continue the waste and further risk. The forensic audit, if concluded without delay and with serious findings as expected, would provide the rationale for stopping the project. The inquiry, a longer process, would then expose those responsible formally, and whether crimes were committed.
    Someone with the integrity of Liberty is needed to expose the flawed and false engineering decisions. It is not just an accounting issue of estimates of costs.....but of risks and quantifying the risks.
    As to the `costs of our souls as a people`.........if we do not get to the bottom of this, it reflects on our culture, that we in the past have long permitted corruption by our leaders, to our demise. That we have had no large scale opposition and protests against MF suggests, as we people,it seems we little care for the well being of our souls, whether individual or as a people. It has been said that evil prevails when good people do nothing or are silent.
    Surely, for the sake of our children and grandchildren, to let this fiasco continue without accountability, says much about our souls. Muskrat puts our morality on trial. Even who is selected to head up an Inquiry requires a person with known very high standards, who seeks truth and justice.
    Winston Adams

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    1. Winston, Truth Justice (and the American Way). Sounds like you are looking for a guy with a big red S on his chest.

      Just keep pressing Winston. Ball finally wants to see what Nalcor is paying contractors (some of whom have the ability to sign contracts!#@#!). The Nalcor Iron Curtain will be breached so don't let up now.

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    2. "A guy with a big red S on his chest"?
      First comes to mind is Superman........ Spider man would be way down the list.
      But it might be Superwoman, not necessarily a man. Like Justice Charbonneau, would headed up the corruption inquiry of the Quebec construction industry. Who do we have of that caliber...,maybe Justice Green?
      Then maybe S refers to Scallywags..... should be more than one of them, deserving of the big S on their chest.
      Lastly comes to mind ........that S word........Suicide.
      Russell at the Telly has an editorial :PTSD..time to talk about it. He says the second RCMP to commit suicide here this year. I have commented in the past on this blog of the RCMP in Goose Bay, who helped protect the Innu during the occupation of the site, yet committed suicide shortly after. Little discussion on that, but now the RCMP seems about to acknowledge this suicide problem, which festers for long time in their ranks. The word suicide brings silence to the lips of most, including the RCMP and the main media. A 2014 CBC story cites of a RCMP man saying "working for bullying supervisors that drove him to attempt suicide". The online video of the Mud Lake lady being arrested..........more than a dozen RCMP ashamed of having their face on camera, in this activity, yet one with his hand on his holstered gun. Not easy for many good cops to serve their masters.
      O'Keefes boss seems sincere to not hide the mental health toll, when suicide is the result, but witnessing violent deaths is only part of it. So, yes, expose the cause of suicide, especially for the RCMP....... change it from being a dirty word.
      Recall the RCMP officer in NB, who was stripped of his uniform for smoking pot to deal with PTSD!
      Any and all of these big S words need attention..........
      But Truth Justice and the American Way...........must be Superman you refer to....what is the equivalent for the Canadian way? Certainly not the RCMP.....that legend is dead, or dying fast.
      A big display of RED SERGE for the funeral is for optics... but action is what counts.
      No desire for the RCMP to contact the Nalcor engineer who has evidence of wrongdoing, as reported on UG! That says a lot.
      Winston


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  11. The Premier going after the "Management by Contractors" is at least a start. This is peanuts compared to obtaining project sanction using falsified estimates-when Nalcor did not have a hope in hell of completing the project for $6.2 billion. Who approved this estimate and who gave the go ahead. This should be the first order of business for the forensic audit. The process of falsification of forecasts during construction is a close second. This will open the door to a torrent of other falsified information. A judicial inquiry can follow once the basic parameters are established. I have every confidence that once the forensic audit process begins, it will gather a momentum of it's own.

    James Pearce.

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  12. The Muskrat bumbling is costing NS consumers prior to delivery of power.
    http://thechronicleherald.ca/opinion/1503464-black-nova-scotia-electricity-consumers-have-another-bad-day

    NL gets trashed by this right leaning columnist.

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  13. Cabot Martin was involved with a group called 2041 Group which promoted the use of natural gas as a source of energy for both the province and as an export commodity. It is too bad that the natural gas proposals the group studied didn’t come to fruit since it would have solved our energy problems for upwards of 50 years or more, provided us with low priced electricity until a cheaper green alternative was developed and enabled another offshore project to provide employment, contracts and royalties/taxation for the provincial government coffers. Right now most of the natural gas in the four major fields on the Grand banks is being re-injected back into the geological structures to maintain pressure for oil extraction with some as is the case of the Hibernia GBS it is being used for all electricity generation onboard the rig itself. In other words the gas is being stored for future use after the oil is long gone while eliminating oil fired generators. This tells me two things. There is a lot of gas being stored which will be used at a later date and that the production of electricity from natural gas doesn’t require any refining as is the case of the generators now being built by General Electric. In other words a Natural Gas Tanker could be built with upwards of four or even six generators (with 100 MW capacity) fueled by natural gas extracted directly from the field as is the case with the onboard generators and produce electricity that can be used for either of two processes. First the generators could use natural gas onboard to produce electricity for the ships propulsion or two when in port the generators could conceivably be hooked via a shore connection to produce electricity for the provincial grid with a capacity of upwards 600 MWs. The same natural gas could be sold as a commodity or as a heating source for homes, industry and businesses. With several ships in operation the supply of electricity would have been continuous AND when not needed export either natural gas or electricity to the very lucrative European market. The natural gas could also have been used as a storage medium for Hydrogen gas produced from excess production of electricity from Wind Turbines and other renewable energy sources thus reducing the CO2 footprint downstream thus enabling the development of these sources of electricity. This is being done in Germany with natural gas pipelines daily-all of which are sound and economical proposals. I do believe the provincial government of the day was literally scared to death of 2041’s natural gas proposals for these very reasons and the fact that it would have made Muskrat Falls a none starter and left the Premier of the day without a legacy project to leave behind.

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    1. Cabot's natural gas would have saved NL (and the world) huh? Cabot owes you a nickle. Are these alternatives all the choices NL had? Natural gas boondoggle or MF boondoggle?

      Demand side management, DSM or conservation would have been a saving for consumer, utility (no need to blow 15 billion, but oh yes Nalcor was playing with house money) and taxpayer. Cheap and very plentiful wind in NL can produce all the new energy needed later for 4-6 cents a KwH (backed up with battery storage and load balancing).

      You need to stop looking to self serving demagogues for solutions and "let the market decide". The fossil fuel age is over. They can't compete with wind and sun any longer.

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    2. Natural gas could have been developed by private sources of money, it would have provided a bridging gap to develop alternate sources of electricity and enable an export commodity to other countries. This is exactly what it has done in the US where it not only displace much dirtier coal and heavy oil but also provided a cheap and readily available backup for Wind and Solar until these are fully developed.

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    3. Holyrood extended operation a Muskrat legacy. Would that NALCOR chose DSM and renewables for under the $15B boondoggle.

      http://www.thetelegram.com/opinion/columnists/2017/9/16/russell-wangersky--clock-ticking-for-holyrood-or-not-.html

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    4. Bruno Marcocchio: The fact of the matter is that neither natural gas, wind and solar or DSM were considered. This was all Danny Williams creation. He created Nalcor and all the pitfalls that went with it wit zero input from anyone other than himself.

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    5. Danny created Nalcor, based on a Cable TV franchise model. Not much planning needed, just hire a couple of cable guys and a HR/Marketing VP. The revenues would add up because the subscribers are accepting of the "hit me with your sales pitch on high, high rates". LOL

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    6. Anon 13:20, I know quite well that no alternatives were considered beyond Muskrat. I presented the DSM argument to the Joint Review Panel. I questioned the demand projections and pointed put that NL had the best wind regime in the world. The JRP dismissed the natural gas option as uneconomic (hilarious in light of 15 billion MF spending).

      The fix was in for MF and the facts were irrelevant. Does it not call for public scorn and shame for the author of this fraud?

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  14. Meanwhile over on Con O'Briens twitter a guy tweeted this last evening..Any truth to this???

    Breaking News: @NalcorEnergy just got an injunction against the @PremierofNL & Minister of @NR_GovNL denying they access to any information.

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  15. As I understand it, the legislation related to the establishment of Nalcor and/or the Muskrat Fall project allows Nalcor to decide what is and is not 'commercially sensitive'.

    The premier knows very well that that is the case, and that therefore (at least for now) this statement by the premier may be for political purposes only --- knowing full well that Nalcor could legally deny the request/directive, and that legislation may well be needed to overcome any objection by Nalcor.

    Is the premier merely trying to pull the wool over the eyes of the electorate or is he prepared to take legislative or other necessary action?

    Or is this whole episode merely an attempt to confuse/complicate the issue, a delaying tactic and/or a way to give government an excuse for inaction?

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    1. Agree with your comment. The fact is the real power within this province resides with NALCOR, the provincial government red, blue or green or yellow is merely a sham to appear that we are a democracy, and it is high time that toe government by the people and for the people took it responsibility seriously and acted as a democracy, and not a tin ditactorship for the rich and powerful, that has been not duly elected. That only happens in some un democracy societies. So, I say again, dissolve NALCOR, shut muskrat down, and let the chips fall where they may. But for Gods sake restore democracy to the people.

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    2. Very well put Maurice. Is this an attempt at legal obfuscation by a clumsy government or will Ball find his? Surely an attempt by Nalcor to hide the contracts from the NL government is grounds for an immediate forensic audit to find out what Nalcor has to hide.

      Apologies Maurice if I slandered the name of your site in a previous post. My comments were directed at Cabot, Browne et al. in St John's that seem incapable of anything but obtuse legal arguments that a deal is not a deal. Following the money seems too practical and may step on some tiny toes. I wish they would put love of culture above tribal loyalty (while they bleat about the erosion of the culture).

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    3. Ah yes, Bruno ---- 'legal obfuscation' --- that's the short version of a key point that I was trying to make (and thought a point that I may not have adequately made). But thanks for removing any doubt about what I was trying to say.

      And given the CA (Browne's) recent parroting of government policies, I understand why associating Group2041 with my vision2041 website might now be thought of as slanderous to my website --- certainly Browne's advocacy to date has largely been out of sync with my expectation.

      Apologies accepted!


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  16. Lets be clear, (as the White House press official says, and then is very unclear!)
    As to Cabot Martin, Group 2041, and any natural gas proposals as alternative to MF:
    1. Natural gas is fossil fuel, damaging to the environment, and contributing to more intense hurricane damage(think Harvey, Irma, and Jose), and serious ocean changes in temperature, CO2 absorbtion, and current changes (think capelin, cod, green crab etc, and Labrador current flow) and perma frost melt risking runaway feedback of methane release, whereby no human solution is possible.....a human suicide plan for the future. Reason suggests this is not a wise path we continue on, leading to extinction of species. We need not save the earth, we need to save other species, including the human species. The earth will take care of itself, without humans if necessary.
    2. Natural gas is slightly less worse than oil burning , and considerably cleaner than coal........but still a big problem.
    3. Natural gas is cost effective as an energy source in many locations and considered a bridge fuel as clean renewable energy ramps up.Hence the rise in use worldwide and low energy cost from that.
    4. That said, overall emissions worldwide has not been reduced from fossil fuel burning overall, and CO2 levels has topped 400ppm and continues to rise.
    5. DSM( Demand side management) and energy efficiency) is almost on par with cost effectiveness for Nfld as natural gas could be, without the emissions, so seems a no brainer......this largely due to our large dependence on electric heat, and the cost effective alternative technology to baseboard heaters. We are perhaps the highest user of baseboard heaters in the world, some 85 percent of new houses, and baseboard being so inefficient that it is banned in some countries.
    5. That we should not just let the market decide. While the cost of clean renewables such as wind and solar and battery storage is getting competitive, and in some case more competitive than fossil fuel or megaprojects such as MF, the risk from climate change required that fossil fuel burning be penalized and clean renewable and DMS and efficiency have incentives........unless one denies the risks of climate change.
    6. 80 percent of existing known reserves of oil must be left in the ground to halt the climate change, and much of the natural gas as well. Yet some countries wish to use every bit of fossil fuel that can be economically extracted. Nfld also prefers to do this. If Cabot Martin continues to promote gas for Nfld, or the world, as a fuel, he is on the wrong side, I suggest.
    7. If MF was halted tomorrow by Ball, we need an alternative plan for our energy needs........a good plan that should have been advanced 10 years ago, that could have saved 15 billion. It need not require going back to living in caves or putting on sweaters in our homes, or warning rocks to take to bed.
    Winston Adams

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