Governments of Canada and Newfoundland and Labrador Respond to the Joint Review Panel Report on the Lower Churchill Hydroelectric Generation Project

March 15, 2012

Ottawa — The Governments of Canada and Newfoundland and Labrador today released their responses to the report of the Joint Review Panel on the Lower Churchill Hydroelectric Generation Project (the Project) near Happy Valley-Goose Bay in Labrador.

“This decision is an important step toward realizing the full potential of one of North America’s most ambitious renewable energy projects,” said the Honourable Peter Penashue, Regional Minister for Newfoundland and Labrador and federal Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs. “It will deliver countless economic benefits to our already flourishing province, to Nova Scotia, and to the rest of Canada.”

“Today’s release from the environmental assessment process represents another important milestone and a major step forward as we move towards our decision on final project sanction of Muskrat Falls,” said the Honourable Jerome Kennedy, Minister of Natural Resources, Government of Newfoundland and Labrador. “Development of the Muskrat Falls hydroelectric project will result in countless benefits to our province, the most important being the provision of reliable, least-cost power to meet the growing demand for electricity. We look forward to continuing our work with the federal government to finalize details on a loan guarantee, which represents a tremendous vote of confidence in this renewable energy project.”

“Our Government is fully committed to the Lower Churchill development,” said the Honourable Joe Oliver, federal Minister of Natural Resources. “This Project will help create jobs, position Atlantic Canada for long-term prosperity and significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”

The Joint Review Panel was mandated in 2009 to conduct an examination of the environmental and economic impacts of the Project and to consider comments from the public.  The Panel concluded that the Project would result in energy security as well as employment, business and environmental benefits. It also found that the Project would have several significant adverse environmental effects.

The Governments weighed all of the identified benefits, effects, risks and uncertainties and found that the Project is justified on both economic and environmental grounds.  In responding to the Panel’s recommendations, the Governments’ respective responses committed to ensuring the implementation of mitigation measures to reduce the adverse environmental impacts identified by the Panel. 

The Government of Canada will now proceed with the necessary steps for issuing the required  authorizations from Fisheries and Oceans Canada and Transport Canada.  The Government of Canada is also continuing to work on implementing the Memorandum of Agreement on a loan guarantee for the project comprising the Muskrat Falls Generating Station, the transmission line connecting Muskrat Falls to the existing Churchill Falls site, the Labrador-Island link and the Maritime link.

The Government of Canada’s response to the Joint Review Panel report can be found on the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency website:  http://www.ceaa-acee.gc.ca/050/document-eng.cfm?document=54772

A copy of the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador’s responses to the Joint Review Panel report recommendations is available at:  http://www.gov.nl.ca/env

Media may contact: 

Patricia Best
Director of Communications
Office of the Minister
Natural Resources Canada
Government of Canada
Ottawa
613-996-2007

or

Media Relations
Natural Resources Canada
Ottawa
613-992-4447

or

Heather Maclean
Director of Communications
Department of Natural Resources
Government of Newfoundland and Labrador
St. John’s
709-729-5282, 697-4137
heathermaclean@gov.nl.ca

The general public may contact: 

Mon.–Fri., 8:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m. EDT Telephone: 613-995-0947 TTY: 613-996-4397 (teletype for the hearing-impaired) E-mail: questions@nrcan.gc.ca