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We cannot let it be sidelined any more


I feel I cannot let the recent protests and illegal activities that are occurring at the Muskrat Falls mega-project continue without a comment.

This occupation and its negotiations will cost us, the taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars and delay the project by several months at least.

All for what?

The Churchill Falls project flooded 7,000 square kilometres, the Muskrat Falls will flood about 40, yes 40 square kilometres. It’s such a tiny area in comparison. Yet there were no alarmed protesters when it occurred, however methylmercury was well understood back then too.

Most of the big lakes on the island were formed by flooding the land underneath them. Grand Lake, the island’s biggest, from which thousands of people have been using that flooded reservoir as a source of drinking water for many decades.

Red Indian Lake, the second biggest is man made by flooding a big land mass, its water is also used for consumption and fishing is a very popular and viable food source in both those Lakes.

There are numerous other examples in Newfoundland and Labrador and the rest of this great country.

As far as I can understand there are no unbiased studies showing that this practice causes a big increase in methylmercury. It is something we have been living with ever since we have been here. When I say we, I mean the Indigenous or native people as well as the rest of the population.

There is no proof that removing the vegetation or the soil will diminish the amount of methylmercury in the water. In fact, it could cause it to increase. Removing the soil as some have suggested is virtually impossible and would make the whole project unfeasible.

Why those discussions and actions did not take place at the very start of this project is something I cannot understand.

At this stage of the project, billions and billions of dollars later, we cannot let it be sidelined any more by a bunch of silly protesters, many of whom do not know what they are protesting for.

Nalcor and the provincial government are certainly not deliberately trying to harm any of our people or their way of life, on the contrary they are trying to make life better for us all, although at times it seems they go about it in strange ways.

In this case they have the best experts that money can buy working on the project and we should show them some trust and respect, and not further delay this very important but maybe poorly timed project.

John C. Wellon

Deer Lake

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