Friday, 31 July 2015

COMMEMORATING THE PASSING OF 2041 GROUP CO-FOUNDER

PRESS RELEASE – July 31, 2015

2041 Group Commemorates Edward Hearn, Q.C. 1949-2015

The 2041 group has lost a co-founder and keen comrade – a young man at heart with years of clear thinking to come. We commemorate Ed’s passing. 

The 2041 Group, lawyers and non-lawyers alike, valued Ed’s steady advice as well as the legal insights he shared into the vast array of complex (and often confusing) agreements that underpinned the Muskrat Falls development. Ed Hearn truly loved this province and wanted only to see it prosper. We are poorer today because of his loss”.

                                                                                                            -  Des Sullivan

Ed was a thoughtful, resolute, decent person, an individual with a mind of his own. Fortunate are those who knew him.”
                                                                                                            - Bernard Coffey

“Have known and respected him since his membership and innovative ideas on the “Let’s Bust the Upper Churchill Contract” committee of lawyers back in Peckford’s days. He was a true Newfoundlander and a tireless defender of both the Provincial interest and those of Labrador in particular.”
                                                                                                            - Cabot Martin

Ed’s legal expertise in Hydro issues resulted from his work on our Province’s 1984 Supreme Court of Canada Reference case and his years as a Director of Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro. Ed advocated including in Quebec for our Province’s right to tax exported Churchill Falls energy under the Constitution - Section 92A. Ed analyzed the Muskrat Falls agreements and concluded that the Muskrat Falls Project was deeply flawed. Ed’s death is a great loss to his family and to the entire Province.”

                                                                                                            - Dennis Browne

"I have been privileged to know many fine, indeed exceptional, human beings but I have not known any who had the combination of an inquiring mind, high intelligence, and deep humanity with such a generosity of spirit like Ed. We have been privileged to know him; surely a rare and special human being. We are not likely to see his likes again."


                                                                                                            - Richard Cashin

Monday, 27 July 2015

ENGINEERS BREAK SILENCE ON PROBLEMS AT MUSKRAT FALLS

For most engineers the execution of a megaproject is principally about the calibre of those in charge of management. Many don’t concern themselves with issues like water management, the question of whether it is a ‘political’ project, or whether the government has made a premature sanction decision. Most simply want the construction phase to benefit from the best practices of the industry and their profession.

The Muskrat Falls project is proceeding poorly; even the Nalcor CEO has been forced to admit he can’t guarantee either the schedule or the budget will be achieved.

Imagine, therefore, that you had a group of professionals weigh in on how they would “fix” the problem of “slippage” and address fundamental cost and other issues.  What do you think they might they say?

Recently, I had that opportunity; some engineers are at their wits end over how the project is managed. It was not just a theoretical exercise; they are intimately familiar with the Muskrat Falls project. 

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

NALCOR'S GILBERT BENNETT AS JUDGE AND JURY

Guest Post written by Cabot Martin

On VOCM BackTalk with Pete Soucy yesterday, Nalcor VP Gill Bennett, the regulator, examined  Gill Bennett the regulated and pronounced – risk of a North Spur Collapse during construction ? - no problem! Does not exist !

And repeated that assertion at the end of his call supposedly to really clinch the argument.
According to Bennett the risk of a North Spur collapse during construction was , not – acceptable risk; not -low risk; not – negligible risk;,  but 100% pure –unadulterated  NO RISK.

So go back to sleep people – no problem here.

All accompanied by a pious and disdainful  statement on the superiority of the engineering way of thinking and the high standards they hold themselves to – what tripe !

Monday, 20 July 2015

NALCOR'S MUSKRAT PROMISE: REALISM VS. FICTION

Guest post written by David Vardy

Introduction
Previous columns on this blog by JM have spoken about the 2015 budget and its optimistic assumptions with respect to future revenues. JM referred to comments by senior officials comparing the oil and gas developments off our coasts with those in the North Sea and the need to inject reality rather than euphoric fiction into our social and economic planning. Public debate and dialogue on the future of the province must be informed by realistic assumptions.

There have been a number of statements made by government and by Nalcor which promise unrealistic returns to the province from the Muskrat Falls project as well as from Nalcor’s investment in oil and gas. This article deals principally with the revenue prospects for Muskrat Falls and how they have been portrayed by our political leaders.

Friday, 17 July 2015

RECOVERING MUSKRAT'S SCHEDULE: THE SUMMER OF VALIDATION

Guest Post written by "JM"

The Muskrat Falls project is experiencing delay.  

Due to the size of this project, the remoteness, and the complexity there should be no surprise that the ramp up of the major activities are taking  longer than proposed in Nalcor’s optimistic original plan .  

The delay has been  documented in the oversight reports produced by the provincial government, even if the reports continue to put the best light on difficult position in which Nalcor finds itself.  

Thursday, 16 July 2015

CHANGE FERRY NAME FROM ‘APOLLO’ TO ‘APPALLING’

Apollo reserves a place, in both Greek and Roman mythology, as the god of music, art, beauty, light, and knowledge.

But there is nothing artful, pleasant, or beautiful about the Apollo, the aged and ill-kept ferry so named, plying the Straits of Belle Isle several times a day between St. Barbe and Blanc Sablon.

As my vehicle crossed over the dock into the vessel, I spied licence plates announcing Texas, New Hampshire, Ontario, as well as Newfoundland and Labrador. A little later, I was given to wonder what their owners were thinking.

While bemusement seemed adequate enough at first, the walk from the car park through the doorway onto several flights of stairs, leading to the reception area, gave even this reluctant tourist fair warning that any expectation of relaxation within pleasant, comfortable, clean, and modern surroundings, might be excessive.

Monday, 13 July 2015

MINISTER WARNED RISK OF NORTH SPUR COLLAPSE

Guest Post by Cabot Martin
Work has recently started on Nalcor’s North Spur “stabilization” construction activities at the Muskrat Falls Project. So far, this has involved the stripping of trees on the upstream and downstream sides of the North Spur and the use of heavy excavation equipment .
The North Spur is known to be unstable and such activities can only heighten the risk of collapse.
As a result, there is presently a serious risk for a North Spur collapse.