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Site C, Muskrat Falls and pitfalls of short-circuited project assessments

Federal and provincial assessment and review processes need to ensure that there are meaningful, public evaluations of the economic rationality, and social and environmental impacts of energy and resource projects before they proceed.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government was elected two years ago in part on promises to reform the federal environmental assessment and regulatory review processes which apply to these types of projects. The Hill Times photograph by Andrew Meade

TORONTO—The Government of Newfoundland and Labrador recently announced a public inquiry into how the economically disastrous Muskrat Falls hydro-electric project was approved. In reality, there is little mystery. The project was strongly supported by the governments of former premiers Danny Williams and Kathy Dunderdale. A very limited economic review was permitted by the province’s Public Utilities Board and the federal-provincial environmental review panel established in relation to the project was barred from examining the economic viability. Both the

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