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The Lower Churchill Hydroelectric Generation Project, which is being proposed by Nalcor Energy, a Newfoundland and Labrador Crown corporation, is composed of the 2,250-megawatt Gull Island Generating Station, the 824-megawatt Muskrat Falls Generating Station and transmission lines connecting the two facilities to the existing Churchill Falls Generating Station.
According to Nalcor, the Project, along with the associated transmission lines, is estimated to generate:
- Nearly 16,000 person-years of direct employment in Newfoundland and Labrador;
- $2.1 billion in income to Newfoundland and Labrador labour and businesses;
- $340 million in tax revenue to the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador during construction.
The Project will provide clean, renewable energy to help displace coal-, oil- and gas-fired electricity in the region. Nalcor estimates that the Project will substantially reduce carbon dioxide emissions in Canada.
In 2008, the Governments of Canada and Newfoundland and Labrador established a joint federal-provincial review panel for the environmental assessment (EA) of the Project. The Major Projects Management Office at Natural Resources Canada provided oversight and project management for the federal participation in the review. Natural Resources Canada, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Transport Canada, Environment Canada and Health Canada along with the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador were actively involved in providing advice and information to the Joint Review Panel throughout the review.
The Panel held public hearings for a period of 30 days, concluding on April 15, 2011. During the public hearings, the Panel gathered information to assess the potential environmental effects and significance of the Project. It heard from Aboriginal persons and groups, the public, governments and other interested parties about their ideas, interests, positions and concerns associated with the Project. The Joint Review Panel report was made public on August 25, 2011.
Federal Regulatory Authorizations – Next StepsFor the project to proceed, authorizations are required from Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) to proceed with any work affecting fish habitat and from Transport Canada (TC) for any work in navigable waters.
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