Paul Davis must be dream­ing in Tech­ni­color

The Beacon (Gander) - - Editorial -

Paul Davis, for­mer premier and cur­rent Leader of the Op­po­si­tion, has grasped his last straw. He is sink­ing rapidly un­der the wa­ters of the Muskrat Falls reser­voir. He is be­yond sav­ing. Ac­cord­ing to the Tele­gram (“Pen­nies on the power,” Jan. 23), Davis “counts him­self among the camp of be­liev­ers that the longterm ben­e­fits of Muskrat Falls will ex­tend to fu­ture gen­er­a­tions and says the “Lower Churchill River de­vel­op­ments have the po­ten­tial to stand along­side projects like the Hoover Dam.” Good grief! The good spin­meis­ter is cer­tainly go­ing out in style. Or per­haps he’s just dog pad­dling un­til the lead­er­ship con­ven­tion when Ches Cros­bie jumps in to save the lot of us. A few facts re­gard­ing Hoover Dam will serve to un­cover the galling ruse. Built from 1931 to 1936 for $49 mil­lion ($750 mil­lion to­day), that’s about six per cent in 2018 dol­lars of the cur­rent cost ($12.7 bil­lion) of Muskrat Falls. Ex­pected to take seven years to build, it was com­pleted two years early and pro­duces two and a half times (2,000 megawatts) the ex­pected Muskrat Falls out­put (820 MW). And it has am­ple mar­kets ser­vic­ing 8 mil­lion peo­ple in three states. Even with its ob­vi­ous mer­its, ex­perts say that due to en­vi­ron­men­tal con­cerns, it would not be ap­proved to­day. Muskrat Falls alone will cost $12,000 mil­lion more to build than Hoover Dam! If one was to add Phase 2, i.e. Gull Is­land (2,250 MW), into the cost equa­tion, the num­bers would be truly astro­nom­i­cal. Com­par­ing Hoover Dam to the lower Churchill re­minds me of the 1998 U.S. vice-presidential de­bate when Dan Quayle com­pared him­self to JFK, only to be for­ever re­minded by an ad­ver­sary “Sen­a­tor, you are no Jack Kennedy.” To give the spin doc­tor his due, per­haps Davis was re­fer­ring to the Lower Churchill’s po­ten­tial to at­tract tourists. Af­ter all, Hoover Dam at­tracts 7 mil­lion vis­i­tors a year, be­ing only 500 miles from Las Ve­gas. That’s about the same driv­ing dis­tance from St. An­thony to Happy Val­ley-Goose Bay. And only three times the dis­tance from St. John’s. Think about that when the lights go out af­ter 2020 and you are wait­ing for Nal­cor to find the ter­res­trial or sub-sea break. I for one, how­ever, would be will­ing to go up for a gawk. Af­ter all, how many times in your life can you ex­pect to see an Ital­ian styled, gold-brushed, white ele­phant with pink, white and green hues? As for his com­rades in the “camp of be­liev­ers,” are any of them run­ning in the next pro­vin­cial elec­tion? If so, please let us know who they are. Tom Hawco St. John’s

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