Guest Post by James L. Gordon P.Eng.(Retired)

Way back in 2014, my interest in the North Spur started when I read a short book by Cabot Martin titled Muskrat Madness. It concentrated on the questionable stability of a natural side dam called the
North Spur which contained layers of sandy silt and sensitive clay. I emailed Cabot, a member of the 2041 committee, on August 27th commenting on his book, and have
commented several times on the Uncle Gnarley blog on the North Spur safety.
NALCOR describes the Spur as –
The north
spur forms a natural earthfill dam,
a crest elevation of about
60 m, and about one km long, which connects the
rock knoll to the north
bank of the valley……. The crest width varies
about 1,000 m at its north
end to about 70m at its south
end where it has been narrowed by erosion and landslide activity in the past. The head across the spur is presently 16 m from river
level upstream to downstream. The impounding of the reservoir to El. 39 m will increase the
hydraulic head across the spur to 36 m and
stabilization measures are then necessary to ensure its longterm stability under both normal and extreme water
levels. The soils forming the spur consist of a complex interbedded sequence
of relatively low
permeability silty
sands and sands, and sensitive marine

Unfortunately, there is a history of landslides in the valley, with several occurring on the upstream
downstream banks of the Spur. A very large landslide
occurred at Edwards Island, some 65km
upstream of Goose
Bay about the end of February 2010. It involved about 2,000,000m3 of
material. Source AMEC Geotechnical investigation: Edwards Island Landslide,
August 2011. There are many other
landslides both upstream and downstream of Muskrat Rapids.
Due to the questionable stability of the Spur, Dr. Stig Bernander was requested by Grand Riverkeepers Labrador in Happy Valley-Goose
Bay to undertake an analysis of the stability, all pro bono, with
travel expenses paid by various concerned citizens. He issued three extensive reports. A remarkable achievement, since he has just
James L. Gordon P. Eng. (Retired)

Dr. Bernander is not convinced that the Spur will fail, but that
its stability has not been proven.
His conclusion is that the safety and reliability of the Muskrat Falls dam have
not been demonstrated. To do so, which is of course essential given the
economic and human consequences should it fail, would require further geotechnical work,
the nature of which he describes in detail.

Dr. Bernander’s report
is far too technical to
explain. It is
with geotechnical engineering terms and
equations, to such an extent that only someone with a doctorate in geotechnical engineering and extensive experience
with sensitive clays will be able to follow the reasoning. His conclusions are as follows
1.       The SNC Lavalin elastic-plastic methodology used to determine stability is incorrect.
2.       Insufficient analysis of failure planes.
3.       The
use of the Limit
Equilibrium Method
(LEM) of analysis is
not justified.
4.       The
pplicability of the elasticplastic” (see comment #1)
methodology is not
   The safety factors determined using
the SNC-Lavalin methodology are not correct.
6.       Finger
drains are not effective.
7.       The cutoff wall may be detrimental to the stability.
His conclusions were so alarming that I
authored several articles requesting the formation
of a Review Board,
under a government mandate, to look into his concerns
determine the Spur
stability. Only an expert Review Board which is independent
of Nalcor and has full access to data and third-party expertise, working under
transparently set terms of reference, can provide definitive conclusions in a
situation like this.

The NL government never acted upon this
recommendation. Instead,
NALCOR convened
a Geotechnical Peer Review Panel (GPRP) at the end of 2017. The members included
·       Prof. Bipul C. Hawlader. Geotechnical
Professor at
Memorial University, St. John’s.
·       Prof. Serge Leroueil. Retired
professor at Université Laval,
Québec City,
·       Dr. JeanSébastien LHeureux.
Technical Lead, Norwegian Geotechnical Institute,

·       Prof. Ariane Locat.
Université Laval, Québec City, Canada.
They issued a report titled Geotechnical Peer Review of Dr. S. Bernanders Reports and Analysis
of the North Spur, dated 2nd February, 2018. The 30 page report concluded that: 
most of the landslides along the Churchill River valley and at the North Spur are either rotational slides or retrogressive flowslides, and
they are comparable to many of the
landslides observed in sensitive clays elsewhere in Eastern
Canada and Norway.
The clayey soils found
at the North Spur are comparable to those found in Eastern
Canada and Norway…..
The methodology applied using
the LEM by SLI (SNCLavalin Inc.) to evaluate the stability of the North Spur for an initial landslide
corresponds to the current
state of practice.
4.   In view of the analyses performed by SLI, the GPRP finds that the approach used is conceptually acceptable to take
into account the initiation
of progressive failure.
The GPRP considers that SLI used StateoftheArt methodology to assess the resistance of
the North Spur to earthquakes.
6.   The GPRP does not expect that the cutoff walls will create a gigantic force, as calculated by Dury and Bernander, which could trigger a downward progressive failure. Actually, the existing piezometer data show that water pressure within the Spur is already at a level similar
to the level of the reservoir
after impoundment.
The GPRP agrees that the finger drains
are necessary to maintain appropriate drainage on the slopes on the downstream
face of the North Spur
and to reduce infiltrations.
It is unfortunate
and unusual that the GPRP did not consult Dr. Bernander, or give him any
opportunity to respond to their concerns. Also, it is unfortunate that none of the staff within the NALCOR organization have the experience to
discuss and question the GPRP findings.
Nevertheless, in view of the recent revelation that NALCOR edited reports by
the “Independent Engineer” this inexperience may not have prevented NALCOR
staff from “marking-up” or “vetting” the report of the GPRP or setting
parameters/mandates that the GPRP had to follow which would only give the
answer sought by NALCOR. 
I still question whether the North Spur
is safe, based
on the lack of data and absence
of geotechnical analysis in
the GPRP report
to support their conclusions. The report was prepared in three days, totally
insufficient to assess the vast amount of geotechnical data on the Spur. This
can be compared with the time required to investigate the Mount Polley dam
failure, which occurred on August 4th, 2015, and the failure report
was issued 5 months later on 30th January 2015. It is available
In particular, I prefer to have seen
1. The results of stressstrain tests on the soils. This is where Dr. Berdander and the
consultant SNC-Lavalin depart in their expectation of the
soil strength. SNC-Lavalin
have assumed a linear relationship with a softening factor, whereas Dr. Bernander assumes a loss of strength at relatively low levels
of strain, as shown in the following diagram extracted from his report.

     Such tests must
have been undertaken. But results
have not been divulged.
is a reference to the strength reduction in the report as follows – Recent research in Norway (refs. (29) and
(30)) recommends the use of the LEM approach in practice for the analysis of
slope stability in sensitive and quick clays, with the addition of a correction
factor, called Fsoftening, to account for the reduction of the clay
shear strength after the peak shear strength has been reached, and to partially
account for strain compatibility on the failure surface. (Report  page 15)

report then states – As an example of the
effect of the mitigation measures for a slope on the Eastern side of the North
Spur, the critical factor of safety was increased from 1.0 to 1.6. This is a 60%
increase in the stability of the slopes, and within the reduction associated
with Fsoftening, if one should use the results of some of the most
recent researches.
there is no discussion on how the Fsoftening,
factor was determined for the soils in the Spur. It has been assumed from
other studies. Since the safety of the Spur is so critical, stress-strain test
results should be available for the North Spur soils.
2. Dr. Bernander has based his analysis on the lowest strength soils, whereas the GPRP has   used the average soil strength,
stating – Atterberg limits indicate that
the clay has low to medium plasticity. Plasticity charts based on soil testing
in 1979 and 2013 investigation are presented in Figure 6 for the Upper Clay and
Lower Clay. For the Upper Clay, the plasticity index ranges between 3 and 22,
with an average of 11. Only a few values are below 7 and most of them seem to
be associated with a mixture of silty layers and clayey layers. (Report, page
There has been no justification for this.
What is the
saying the strength of a chain is equal to the strength of its weakest link.
The soils in the Spur have
been deposited in layers, with
ach layer
having a different strength and
characteristic. If there is a layer of weak soil, then the Spur will fail by
sliding on that layer as occurred at Mount Polley in BC. The GPRP has not demonstrated that there is
no such layer. The extent of soft and low-strength materials is unknown at this time. I
would have preferred to see a threedimensional computer
model of the Spur showing the layer strength.

            Mount Polley dam
in BC. The downstream
slope failed on August
14th, 2014.
Report extract – (The) Independent Expert Engineering Investigation and Review Panel concluded that the
dominant contribution to the failure resides in the design. The design did not take
account the complexity of the subglacial
and preglacial geological environment associated with the Perimeter Embankment  foundation.
 As a result, foundation
investigations and associated site
haracterization failed
to identify a continuous
(soft) layer in the vicinity of the breach and to recognize that it was susceptible to undrained
3. The GPRP concludes that the cutoff wall is a necessary component
of the Spur safety
enhancement. My experience with such walls is that they contain defects in the form of permeable windows caused by
the permeable material falling off the vertical sides of
the wall during the backfilling process. Impermeability can be seriously
affected, and
will not be known until
reservoir is filled.
           Also, the
GPRP rejects Dr. Bernander’s description of a “gigantic force” applied to the
wall, pointing out, correctly, that the location and height of the wall has
been misinterpreted by Dr. Bernander. The GPRP report states –
their analyses, Dury and Bernander assumed “a gigantic external force (locally
on the (
wall) COW)”, assuming the water pressure
resulting from impoundment on only one side of the COW ……., in addition to
using incorrect geometry and incorrect location for the COW. Actually, the many
piezometers installed in the North Spur show that the water pressure in the
Spur will be acting on both sides of the COW (red triangle on Figure 13). If
the calculation is performed for a COW at the actual location, the force on the
wall will be much less than the force calculated by Dr. Bernander. (Page 21)
This statement is patently not correct
and indicates a misunderstanding of the hydraulic forces exerted by the
reservoir waters on the Spur. There has to be an impervious barrier to the headpond
water within the Spur to avoid excessive seepage. It makes is no difference to
the hydraulic forces if the barrier is a cut-off wall constructed from the dam
crest down to the impervious clay layer below the spur, as assumed by Dr.
Bernander, or if the barrier is a short cut-off wall topped by an impervious
blanket, as built at the upstream face of the Spur. Moreover, the impervious
barrier can be located anywhere within the upstream half of the natural dam
formed by the Spur.
To reinforce their theory about the
forces acting on the cut-off wall, the GPRP has added a counterforce on the
downstream face of the cut-off wall (Report Figure 13) equal to the pressure on
the upstream face. If this was the case, then the cut-off wall and blanket
would not be required.
What Dr. Bernander is describing is the
concentration of the forces at the watertight barrier resulting in high
compressive forces on the soil immediately downstream of the watertight
barrier. Without the watertight barrier, the dam would be built with a
homogeneous glacial till, as at Bay d’Espoir and Cat Arm, and the hydraulic
forces would be dissipated throughout the dam, instead of being concentrated at
the watertight barrier.
The effect of the force concentration
has not been determined. It would have to be undertaken by a fine-mesh finite
element analysis.

Dam failure due to excessive seepage on
first filling. June 5th,
1976. This was the unexpected event which started the dam safety campaigns in
North America.
4. The
GPRP has assumed that the safety factors applicable to the Spur stability are those
recommended by the Canadian Dam Association.
As first mentioned by
Helwig, these safety factors were developed for dams constructed with known homogeneous materials such as rock, gravel, and silt, all
within a determined size, placed and
compacted under strict
specification requirements,
and tested throughout construction.
On the other hand, the North Spur contains
a mixture of sand, silt and clay, resting
naturally, and not compacted, nor tested as in an engineered dam. The safety factor for
such a natural dam should be
higher. The
has not demonstrated that the CDA factors can be applied to the Spur.
I would refer the GPRP to a paper (reference provided by Phil Helwig) authored
by J. Michael Duncan, titled “Factors of safety and reliability in Geotechnical
engineering” which demonstrates that using a simple factor of safety is
insufficient, and that a reliability analysis is also required. (ASCE Geotechnical
Journal, Oct. 1999. *1) A reliability analysis has not been undertaken by the
So what can be concluded from all this? is the North spur absolutely safe? The reservoir spillway has been designed to pass a 1/10,000
flood, and the Spur is able to
withstand a 1/10,000 earthquake. B
ut is the risk of a
slope failure at the North Spur also assessed at 1/10,000? If not, then how risky is
? Nobody knows, since a reliability analysis has not been
The government of
NL should appoint an eminent panel of geophysical experts, completely
independent of Nalcor, to assess the scientific evidence and undertake all
necessary additional research, and undertake a comprehensive review of the
safety and stability of the North Spur. The Panel’s work should include:
1.             Giving Dr. Bernander and his associate Dr. Elfgren the
opportunity to respond to the GPRP report, and include their comments therein.
2.            Assessing the results of stress-strain tests on the
various soils within the Spur, to demonstrate that the linear relationship and
softening factors have been correctly determined and applied to the
geotechnical calculations.
3.           Producing a three-dimensional computer model of the
strength of the various soil layers within the spur, to demonstrate that there
are no extensive layers having a strength below average strength, which could
form a sliding plane.
4.            Undertake a reliability analysis of the safety of the
5.            Seeking precedents for the use of CDA dam safety factors in
slope safety calculations in a natural dam.
Given the recent revelations that Nalcor staff have been
“marking-up” reports by the “Independent” Engineer, it is imperative that the
chosen Panel is verified to be Independent of Nalcor.  Only then will the residents downstream of
the Spur — and those who are responsible for paying for the dam — feel that Government
has done its utmost to ensure their safety and the safety of the Spur.
Jim Gordon. Hydropower
consultant, retired.
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. Reading with interest Mr. Gordon's final comments – on the north spur, but admitting I don't understand the technical analysis, or and having any technical knowledge in soil analysts, but arrived at the same conclusion, lol, as I commented a month or so ago. That, "God only knows when and if the north spur will fail". AND … Mr. Gordon wrote, "…..how risky is it? (The north spur) NOBODY knows, since a reliable analysts has not been undertaken". Simple and greater minds think alike. Nalcor minds are closed having made up their minds a decade ago, and it ain't gonna change, not even if there is a catastrophe failure of the spur, or will be certainly too late then, says Joe blow, average goe, AJ.

  2. This North Spur makes me feel like I'm staring down Barter's Hill and I'm not sure if it's covered in black ice.

    As Jim points out, the hasty weekend review panel did nothing to resolve the issues. In fact, their questionable assumptions do say enough to suggest that the detailed analysis by Nalcor's engineers likely includes the same many questionable assumptions. This is clear evidence the engineering approach is not up to snuff.

    It seems like a year or so from now the reservoir will be creeping it's way up and like venturing down a steep downhill road that looks icy, we'll find out how slippery and wrong the assumptions on the North Spur were. Anyone else have white knuckles right now?

    • A very thoughtful and well written document Mr. Gordon.

      As to the so-called independent (GPRP) review panel report commissioned by Nalcor, below are some of my February, 2018 comments on that report:

      98% of the same old same old (all while Stan is saying there has already been too many studies, reviews, reports, etc.) — a repeat of the Ed Martin playbook.

      No independence, no access to the terms of reference given to these 'experts', no recognition that existing engineering standards/methods may not be the current 'best practice' applicable to the hybrid natural/engineered dam that is the North Spur.

      I don't think that previously raised issues of concern have been demonstrated to be in error.

      Given the parameters and limitations (agreements) that Nalcor and this panel has likely agreed to, I would suggest that it would be an affront to science to suggest that what this panel has produced is in any way 'scientific'.

      The panel report is good for what it is, and what it was intended to be/do —- a tool that Nalcor could wave around, support and try and convince others of their already existing, and long-established 'close-minded' position that the Spur is safe.

      Nothing in these reports demonstrates that the Spur is safe (and these experts have worked very hard to make sure that they have not said that).

      What the panel states is that "The GPRP examined the engineering documentation available for the North Spur and concludes that the overall approach, concepts and methods used for checking the stability and integrity of the North Spur follow the current standards and state of the art practice."

      That is a far cry from saying the North Spur is safe, or even that the 'available' engineering documentation is sufficient and that the scope and design of the geotech and stabilization works and completion have been site-specifically, properly and adequately designed to ensure safety.

      e.g. is there any analysis with respect to the potential for progressive failure triggered at the downstream deep hole steep slope (below the -10 m mark)? UNQUOTE

      A job well done Mr. Gordon.

    • Indeed, a very timely, intelligent and responsible Engineer's account of where we have arrived at the point of uncertain and possibly high risk.

      Speaking as one old retired Engineer to another, thank you Jim.

  3. With the 'mark up"of the so called Independent Reports by Gil Bennett and friends, and this this hasty 3 day report noted by Mr Gordon, also one of the consultants doing the report of the flood of Mud Lake being active in communication with Gil Bennett just hours before the flood, (so not independent), all shows a pattern of lack of true independence and the reports giving what is expected by Nalcor.
    Then there is the ICF report of 2105 on peak demand reduction from minisplit heatpumps. While ICF acknowledging it to be the greatest measure to reduce energy use on the island, it showed nothing for peak demand savings on the grid. A note in the report says"a conservative assumption was made that all units would fail in our winter temperatures (yet ICF acknowledges this is not likely to happen). Consumer Advocate Tom Johnson wondered if the consultant was asked by the power companies to make that statement so to show no peak demand reductions on the grid. Seems obvious that is what happened. To assume 5-10 % might shut down in cold temperature here seems reasonable , for to say ALL would fail is ridiculous! Such is the methods to deceive the public, and the PUB, and it works and no media picks up on it, and the consumers screwed by this approach, paid for by their monthly power bills.
    Winston Adams

  4. Nice article here.

    Chronology is : SNC report first. Bernander second and review group is third.

    SNC proved itself trustworthy in many situations. They flagged all the risks and Nalcor had to hide their report because it was way too much on the target for their scheme.

    Bernander has a real expertise, but he was commissioned from a party that had a clear objection to the project. How neutral and objective is report is ? That can be evaluated only by other experts.

    That was the mandate for that third review but unfortunately, they too were commissioned from a party who already had a clear opinion on the subject. Also, with literally only hours to do their job, it is hard to consider that their review is any better.

    So from that, what can we do ? Not much but to agree to that only conclusion : No one knows…

    Is it reasonable to go with such an unknown factor ? MF did it for other subjects like the water management. That one was a legal unknown, but one of similar importance for the project because it turns it to a complete No-Go if MF is indeed limited to 17% of its power.

    Actually, that unknown is even worst because the legal one did not exposed people's lives while this ony may kill people.

    So there is a real need to know and as of now, no one knows. I am sure that should HQ take over the project, that will be one of their top priority : To learn about this ****** North Spur.

    If HQ concludes the structure is safe, I will trust them Until that, unfortunately, it does not seem that we can trust many others….

  5. This is the type of analysis and thoughtful regard for humanity that the public expects from professional engineers. Contrast this with the Independent engineer and Nalcor who collude to de-empathise risks to society. The end result is that the P.Eng. designation means very little – just that you passed engineering and accumulated four years working somewhere. A P.Eng. might be great — or clueless. Fortunately, most engineers I work with understand their limited knowledge and would refuse to sanction anything they didn't fully understand to satisfy their employer. If the North Spur does fail, all the professional engineers that white-washed this should lose their license to practice and the senior ring leader should spend their remaining years behind bars. The failure of the North Spur would make history as one of the worst engineering disasters of all times. (The Quebec Bridge disaster in 1907, which led to the regulation of engineers, killed 75 people.)

  6. always take the safety approach and the side of caution. Many time I went over the North Spur carrying a canoe for my hunting trips. That slope is full of clay that is difficult to walk on wet days. I never seen rocks on either side. The report been done and the risk issues removed. Many engineers do not fully understand dam construction.

    • Sam you carried a canoe over it many times and I suspect many others have done the same and I suspect that many caribou and moose have traversed the area over the years. However Dr Bernander has said that a slope failure or slide there can be triggered by human or animal activity. The GPRP appear to support that concern by their recommendations that the area be secured from the public. What is the present schedule for filling of the reservoir?

    • Only source I've found for schedule is in the oversight committee reports. November 2019 is the target for both reservoir impoundment completion and commissioning of the first generator. No idea whether levels will rise incrementally next summer as the south dam nears completion but I'd guess we're at least one year away from departing the status quo levels.

  7. I am surprised by the lack of response from the crowd on this post.

    The bare naked truth seems somehow stupefying.

    As I said before, here, we know what is the problem, what are we going to do.

    If you are not part of the solution you are the problem.

    The sheep can look up!

    • Are you not yet aware of the colossal apathy of the NL voter?

      It's the key element the skeets and culprits who claim to be politicians rely on to carry out their vile self-enriching schemes.

      And it works too.

    • PF:

      My stance is unchanged, I have long maintained that there is insufficient investigation work for the claims of reliability.

      As I have previously stated I have not seen the testing suite of shear box, tri-axial and centrifuge testing that I would need to accept that the design is sound.

      I do find it interesting that the CVs of the GPRP do have experience in the advanced testing I suggest is necessary-though most here didn't appreciate my comments then. And I will qualify by saying that I don't give the weight to the papers by Dr B and Drury that most do; I would also offer that the members of the GPRP do have a collective qualified CV for this analysis, but without the necessary info their assessment loses weight with me.


    • Thanks Peng2, in summary: insufficient investigation work for the claim of reliability.
      Therefore it follows that you support the view of Jim Gordon on this and do not support the high assurances given by Stan Marshall, correct?

  8. Apathy grows from lack of information.
    We six or seven commentators might mean no one else is reading UG. But I think there are many more (testing testing, are you out there?) who realize the truth but are either afraid or feel unable to make a difference.
    If they won’t rise up what chances the uninformed will even look up let alone rise up.

    Mao said revolution comes from the barrel of a gun, it Can also come from likeminded people working together to a common cause.

    UG cannot mass communicate the information necessary to bring apathy to an end regarding Muskrat Falls so it remains for others.

    We need leaders and influencers to show us the path and take the message to the proletariat, like
    Coalerm and Smallwood.

    Rise up, rise up, get organized.

    • Tor, we thought we had this person in the form of DW. In the beginning he displayed the influence and leadership we thought was for the people of NL. It was later when he jumped ship and left command to KD whom he knew he had influence over to bring his foolhardy MF project to where he wanted it. MF was DW's scheme to ensure Dannyland had sufficient power and it was going to happen specifically without HQ come hell or high water and the cost of which was not going to be an issue. We now know he bullied his "followers" to get his own way and look where he got us—57 years of paying for a massive project we never did need. Our "knight in shining armor" will go down in history as the instigator of the single most collossal disaster ever inflicted on NLers. In doing so he dragged KD down the drain with him. These two Premiers were the worst thing ever to happen to NL–bar none!! They should hang their heads in shame. A geographically large and beautiful province with a mere 500K people has to borrow $4million/day just to pay the bills for Ch–st's sake!!. To make matters worse and rub it in he still claims MF is a good project. Never, never admit he wronged us is the DW philosophy. Our only way out of this expensive and life threatening calamity will be to relinquish our future claim on the UC to HQ. It is then and only then will we have someone capable of managing what we are not capable of. History will not treat DW and KD well.

    • Agree with you Wayne, except on one single point, " we do not relinquish anything to anyone". There is more than us responsible for this boondoggle, and we will all pay the part we are responsible for, and that includes, Nova Scotia, Emera, Nalcor, and the Feds. Now the major fight will be to waht extent each is responsible, and if it is not agreed to out of court, then it will be settled by the courts. It is as simple as that. Ball et all, better be making a plan for that, as well as Chess and his best, and anyone else who what's to get elected in the next election, just around the corner. For those independant guys running, like Paul, well we should be asking him on a daily basis, where he stands. And of course Ms. Rogers too. No one should get a free ride to the legislature this time. Tells us what you are going to do about muskrat, now, not after. And to establish a pannel of experts, after being elected is not good enough, we want to know before. So establish your pannel of experts first, tells us your plan, and if it past the test, we will elect you. This should be our hardest fought election ever. And it it is up to the people to hold them accountable before the election, as well as after. And we are not talking about promises, we are talking about having you work done before the election. So politicians, ALL! Take heed. This will be front and center during the election, not on the back burner, until after. So get involved, people, if we go down, we will go down fighting, and not sitting on our asses complaining. That's my take says Joe blow.

    • Should have said, that's where I STAND, and not sit. Where do you stand, or do you sit as usual. Stand up, and use your power breakers to protest, and make your voice clear, for the next protest. If you sit piously by, you will be run over by the powers that be. We need every Average Jan and Joe standing.

    • What are we STANDING for??? To protest to government increases in power rates. Demand that the Feds be responsible for the loan guarantee. Demand that Nova Scotia and Emera pay their fair share. We need one minute of standing in protest, at every hockey game, basket ball game, social event at MILE ONE. One minute of STANDING TALL. Not only at mile one but everywhere, where more that 20 people have gathered for an event, standing for one minute. And that includes garden parties, etc. Where your Local MHA is too eager to attend, ONE MINUTE OF STANDING, says Joe blow.

    • Wayne. Dannyland, Galway, needs about the same power as Gander, about 3 percent of our peak load, so not so much to want MF. Also Galway would only add that small problem of extra load in winter, as we have a surplus much of the year. A small 50 million gas turbine added at Holyrood would handle it.
      But Danny figured oil prices would stay high, growth of the economy would be high, adding much more to our load on the whole Avalon, this growth would put a big demand for his Galway houses offering huge profits, and also his delusion that the Anglo Saxon route would work out and circumvent Quebec, while being ignorant of the complexities of MF scheme. Danny knew best, and many Nflders believed he knew best, boasting of his business success, so a bit of Trumpie there. And a loud mouth, worse than Andy Wells ( example ….Andy needs a good shit knockin).
      Overall, Galway power will just added a slight increase in winter load, so slight that our peak demand is now and will continue to drop, more than Galway will add.Danny thought he understood the big picture and rolled the dice for all of us.This was a huge and stupid gamble, and forced on the public as a take or pay, even if not needed. His luck with the cable business did not pay off for the ratepayers. And his cable guy, Gil Bennett, like Danny , was out of his depth, not world class for large scale hydro. Dumb and dumber.

    • oh Waldo (aka Average Joe Blowhard)
      Standing Tall for a whole minute at every social/sport event.. is this a new kind of yoga.. handing-off-the-debt yoga perhaps… I'm sure Emera and NS govt and FG will be greatly influenced by your new yoga pose.. downward facing dog probably more appropriate

    • July 4th….a big American holiday of celebration. An historic event for NS and Nfld as well: export of free power to NS reached 100MW, up from 50 MW the day before, and there was a trial export also on June 14th. Not a word of celebration in NS nor Nfld on any of this, Wonder why. The PUB power status charts shows a purple line, which I interpret as exports over the Maritime Link. Perhaps PENG2 can confirm if this is correct.
      If Emera, and NS and the Feds are not influenced by dissent here by the public, why is this historic event kept secret….
      Winston Adams

    • Not to worry Winston, I make no mistake, I have marked him well. Ex mil eng, sometimes signs his name as Eric. Usually he makes reasonable comments then, and is nice to you. He changes his spots the next minute and writes as anonymous, where he moonlights, and masquerades, and attempts to sow discord among the people of this province. I then call him, Waldo Boy, since he he refers to me as Waldo. So really 4 in one. Ex milt. Eng, Eric, anonymous, and Waldo Boy. At least Hercules, has a constant message, and sometimes some good points. Etainne ( hope I have the right spelling) usually talks about people and culture as the great philosopher, and pretends that is above the average ordinary human being, and we don't comphrend what he espouses, he assumes he know everything about us. So I have referred to them as the three bullshiters, rather than the our three friends, or the three wise men. Their contribution to this blog now is mainly negative to us as a people, as well as negative towards muskrat boondoggle, which is fine. So I try and call a spade a spade, and let the chips fall where they may, says average Joe.

    • Hey AJ, good try, but no. 😉

      The seldom times I'm stuck to reply as "anonymous", I always put my handle name or Eric below. (I can't log into my ExMil account when I use my work PC – which I try to avoid anyways).

      If you really want to know who are behind those "anonymous" comments, I'm sure Des Sullivan can provide us some additional info – via the author's IP address…

      So AJ, what are those of my comments you disagree with? Let's have an instructive / constructive debate.


      Winston, I refrained from commenting Heracles/Etienne interventions as I don't know NL's social behevior structure sufficiently. (In Quebec, we also have our own specific behavior structure, don't worry)

    • Average Joe-

      (It's E-T-I-E-N-N-E, by the way)

      You have no business whatsoever asking anyone to refrain from making comments: we are ALL guests here in the comments section of Des Sullivan's blog.

      As for your criticism about me, " he assumes he know everything about us"…err, I have (at least twice) corrected points made here on Newfoundland history by other commentators. So, while I do not know everything (and never claimed I did), I do know something.

      Otherwise I have asked questions which have typically remained unanswered (much to my irritation). And I did not ask these questions to make myself look clever or the like: I did so because I was (and am) trying to understand Newfoundland and its basic social dynamics.

      One last thing: I need to stress that English is not my first language. My English is more-or-less grammatically and stylistically correct (My English teachers might have a word or two to say on that topic, but anyway…), and if I were a native speaker I would indeed probably come across as arrogant, aloof and/or pretentious. Here's the thing: I am *not* a native speaker. I am trying to get my meaning across, and in any language other than my native French I am incapable of doing so without using very standard/bookish language.

    • Omg…the Waldo Boys and bullshitters are at it again. Way to go! But anyway, I will not respond to your every detail and comment you make, I am far to busy at other things to pay much attention to you. But I will state again, and make myself chrystal clear to all, that I comment here as average Joe for a reason. I selected that handle to represent and speak up for the average janes and joes of this province that are basically innocent of the muskrat boondoggle. So when anyone attacks the average innocent person of this province, or tries to sow discord among these people, or attacks our basic culture, I will challenge you and call you out for your actions. As for attacking muskrat boondoggle, and it's pubetrators, I welcome you and your comments as I do myself every time I write on this blog. As for languages and their use, I pay no attention to that, whether it be spelling errors, sentence structure, grammar, or perfect writing skills in the language, or otherwise, I just look for your basic message, and that is what I focus on. I appreciate any person that is bilingual or multi lingual, in this country. So please don't play the dog in the manger, about mother toungues, and reduce everything to the lowest common demonator. I play no part in that foolish game. But if I fail when I try and recall a person's name correctly from memory, I apologize immediately, as I did in my last. I respect the people of other provinces, and expect no less in return, but as for individuals, well that is different. I can take anything you send my way, and give you your hell back, any day I choose. So I will just keep on happily truck'en as Joe blow, average Joe, AJ.

    • What I find too bad is that nobody took the time to assess and debate Etienne's look at NL's social behavior structure (my own words).

      I believe Etienne brought the subject in a constructive way and I'm sure he didn't mean that NL is inferior (to Quebec or whatever). Again we also have our owns, like our old stigmas against financially successful individuals.

      I would suggest that we shift from attacking messengers and rather debate constructively notions / specific arguments.

      But hey, I'm just an outsider and that's just my two cents.

    • AJ:

      "I comment here as average Joe for a reason. I selected that handle to represent and speak up for the average janes and joes of this province that are basically innocent of the muskrat boondoggle"

      Yes, because of course the politicians of Newfoundland do not owe their positions to choices made repeatedly by a majority of the inhabitants of NL at the Ballot box. Thank you so much for clarifying this for me, AJ: silly me, I actually thought that Newfoundland MP's are elected! Shows you how little I know!

      (Incidentally, –err, turning the sarcasm off now– speaking as an outsider, I do not believe NL has ever elected a premier even remotely as…um…oh, forget it, I can't express this delicately: ever elected a premier even remotely as clownishly incompetent as Doug Ford in Ontario. So: rest assured that any claim that the NL electorate is unusually incompetent in selecting/electing its leadership would not strike me as credible).

      "So when anyone attacks the average innocent person of this province, or tries to sow discord among these people, or attacks our basic culture, I will challenge you and call you out for your actions."

      Please quote any instance of such attacks written by myself: somehow I cannot recall writing any…

      Oh, yes, and you added, in answer to my point about my not being a native speaker of English,

      "So please don't play the dog in the manger, about mother toungues, and reduce everything to the lowest common demonator. I play no part in that foolish game."

      Just so we're clear, I brought up that issue in the wake of the following words you had written about me specifically (after having referred to me and two others as "bullshitters"):

      "…usually talks about people and culture as the great philosopher, and pretends that is above the average ordinary human being, and we don't comphrend what he espouses, he assumes he know everything about us."

      Now, in bringing up that issue I was assuming good faith on your part: I was assuming that you really thought my tone was aloof, and tried to explain that my writing in a second language might account for this perception of yours.

      However, I may, henceforth, not reply to such outbursts of yours, as I am finding it increasingly difficult to assume good faith on your part. Consider yourself on probation (Well, to my mind, anyway: it is up to others on this blog to decide for themselves, individually, whether what you write is worth replying to).

      Be that as it may, I agree with my fellow outsider Ex-military Engr: we need to focus on the message, not the messenger(s).

  9. The saddest part in all of this debate is that conservation, reduction and replacement of inefficient energy systems were never discussed not then and not now.
    Conservation means more than turning down the thermostat. It also includes smaller houses, more apartment/condominium style dwellings and less living space in general. Never discussed as an alternative to MF's.

    Inefficient systems such as baseboard heaters and oil fired furnaces could have been replace with a first choice Ground to air and or a second choice air to air systems. Never discussed.

    The two above would have resulted in a reduction along with other means but again. Never discussed.

    • Where have you been hiding out? Never Discussed?
      Have you missed the Great Debate on the comments on UG's last piece?
      It started June30, @08:10 by Joe, and then a move to turn off the power for July 1.
      Joe suggests Winston offer 10,000.00 as a prize
      Winston offers 10,000.00 for free heatpumps
      Then discussion whether we need heat in June and July in Nfld
      Winston say Heracles (an IT engineer from Quebec) analysis is illogical, based on Vardy's economic theory of elasticity
      Winston says 1/2 cent on power rates could fund 50 million efficiency fund for customer rebates
      Someone says Winston uses fuzzy math
      July1, Joe and Winston join the Make Nfld Dark Again, kill the breaker
      Heracles jumps in to say that efficiency is bad for Nfld
      Peng2 has his 2 cents worth, says Winston's analysis is sound.
      Heracles makes an insult:Says Adam's Heat Pump Endebtment Program is like Peckford's Pickle Palace.
      Ex Military Eng joins in asking clarification on the issues
      Finally Etienne (now 3 commentators from Quebec) debate the pros and cons,
      Heracles says he is now abandoning UG forever unless Winston never mentions the word heatpump, even once, in the next 15 days.
      He also says Vardy opposes Winston, that efficiency is bad, and that UG should censor Winston.
      Debate seems to fizzle, and talk of Coat of Arms and class structure in Nfld the cause of the boondoggle.

    • Watching and listening to the Federal/Provincial tussle over carbon reduction, and immigration in Ontario, think of this;

      Canadians signed on to the Paris Accord, through our democratically elected Liberal government. We have historically as a nation recognized UN and International responsibility for displaced persons, resettlement, and poverty.

      Maybe the continuance of the Muskrat towards an ignoble end, through Fed sponsorship and participation, represents a conservative plot against us all. Having reached the "have status", from offshore petroleum cash, it was an opportunity taken by the Harper/Williams/McKay crowd and the trickle down mentality, that NL would be subservient to the colonial transfer payment scheme, (modern truck and trade), keeping the Baymen under the Water St. Merchants 🙂

    • Growing up in outport Nfld in the 50s and 60s, it was often stated that there were 20 millionaires on Water St, St Johns. These were old long established families that suffered little from our loss of democracy, and actually put on the path to bankruptcy. Bankruptcy was unacceptable to the British Empire, better we suffer under 6 cent a day dole for the masses.
      A report 15 or 20 years ago from the Chicago School of Business, studied the Nfld situation and said bankruptcy would have been a better option for Nfld in 1934. Food for thought, that we take the bull by the horns, least history repeat. What can we expect from the St John's Board of Trade crowd, that encouraged MFs as a good project?

  10. An online petition has been started by the Make Nfld Dark Again protesters, a link is in the Telegram story today. 1600 signed this mornig already, and increasing about 30 people every minute. Unlike on UG, most of these comment and give their name.
    Always felt that only when the costs start to bite that people will take notice, so 6 years late, but never too late.
    Seems kill the breaker is on again tomorrow.

  11. Gee, let's reflect on my swarm idea; there is one growing in the petition, in the switchoff the breakers movement; and, hopefully, in other ways yet to bud out.

    Ok now, get organized, talk to one another, make plans.
    Remember Margaret Mead, "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful,
    committed citizens can change the world.
    Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."


  12. Is it possible that the justification for continuing with the Muskrat into operation is all about climate change action?

    Have a listen;


    Has anyone heard from their respective MPs, M. Ball words to the effect that the Boondoggle is merely the Feds following the mantra on carbon reduction, (carbon cap), and if not satisfied with the noble premier's weak commitment to climate action plan, this is the rationale for putting the "beast" on line?