Nalcor has responded to the serious issues raised by the January 20th, 2014 Uncle Gnarley Post entitled MUSKRAT FALLS “ON ICE”: NEWS FROM THE FIELD.
This Link will take you to Nalcor’s Statement from Lower Churchill Project Vice-President, Gilbert Bennett.  You will note that it fails to answer these questions: was the road to the construction site plowed?  Was the fuel truck prevented from delivering
the essential fuel with which to run the pumps at the huge excavation site?  Did the dewatering pumps run out of
fuel? Was there a failure of management on the Project?
These are the fundamental questions.  

Nalcor can blame Astaldi Canada for the
oversight as it pleases (as they are apparently trying to do), but the public
needs to know if the pumps unexpectedly shut down as its reference to “negligible
ice buildup”, in Bennett’s reply, seems to confirm.  Please advise us if that is what occurred.
Are there now discussions between Nalcor and Astaldi Canada
about the financial or other fall-out from this event?
I would hasten to inform Nalcor that regardless of its relationship with Astaldi Canada, Nalcor is responsible for everything that happens
on the Muskrat Falls site.

On that point, I am obligated to note that  SNC-Lavalin was awarded a Contract to deliver engineering, procurement and construction management (EPCM) services for the Muskrat Falls project.  Management of snow clearing, if not the pumping systems, too, would normally fall within the scope of such management services.  

Are rumours of SNC-Lavalin’s departure from the Muskrat Falls Site overstated?  

Related Reading on Uncle Gnarley Blog regarding world class experts:    
P.S. Astaldi Canada, Welcome to Labrador

Des Sullivan
Des Sullivan
St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada Uncle Gnarley is hosted by Des Sullivan, of St. John's. He is a businessman engaged over three decades in real estate management and development companies and in retail. He is currently a Director of Dorset Investments Limited and Donovan Holdings Limited. During his early career he served as Executive Assistant to Premier's Frank D. Moores (1975-1979) and Brian Peckford (1979-1985). He also served as a Part-Time Board Member on the Canada-Newfoundland Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board (C-NLOPB). Uncle Gnarley appears on the masthead representing serious and unambiguous positions on NL politics and public policy. Uncle Gnarley is a fiscal conservative possessing distinctly liberal values and a non-partisan persusasion. Those values and opinions underlie this writer's views on NL's politics, economy and society. Uncle Gnarley publishes Monday mornings and more often when events warrant.


Bill left public life shortly after the signing of the Atlantic Accord and became a member of the Court of Appeal until his retirement in 2003. During his time on the court he was involved in a number of successful appeals which overturned wrongful convictions, for which he was recognized by Innocence Canada. Bill had a special place in his heart for the underdog.

Churchill Falls Explainer (Coles Notes version)

If CFLCo is required to maximize its profit, then CFLCo should sell its electricity to the highest bidder(s) on the most advantageous terms available.


This is the most important set of negotiations we have engaged in since the Atlantic Accord and Hibernia. Despite being a small jurisdiction we proved to be smart and nimble enough to negotiate good deals on both. They have stood the test of time and have resulted in billions of dollars in royalties and created an industry which represents over a quarter of our economy. Will we prove to be smart and nimble enough to do the same with the Upper Churchill?


  1. The Nalcor release, was like everything from Nalcor, carefully worded. They did not deny your reports of pump failure or flooding. However, it was worded to completely undermine what you are reporting. The fact that this occurred under AStaldi control is perhaps much more concerning. The words of Shawn Skinner about foreign companies operating in northern Canada coming true?

    Des… I have a feeling you are just scratching the surface.