Muskrat Falls 'on the drawing board,' Nova Scotia's incoming premier says

HALIFAX – Nova Scotia’s incoming premier says the Muskrat Falls hydroelectric project in Labrador won’t have his Liberal government’s support unless the price of power is cheaper for customers in his province.

One day after winning a commanding majority government, Stephen McNeil said that’s the message he will deliver to Premier Kathy Dunderdale of Newfoundland and Labrador.

“I can be very clear to her that if it’s not in the best interests of Nova Scotia ratepayers, then we would not be supportive,” McNeil said Wednesday.

“Until we see something new, Muskrat Falls is where it is, which is on the drawing board.”

McNeil said he agrees with a decision by Nova Scotia’s Utility and Review Board that his province needs access to more of the power from the development at a better price. He said Nova Scotia private utility company Emera, which is proposing to build the $1.5-billion Maritime Link that would ship electricity to his province, is free to proceed with it.

His comments strike a different tone from one that was set by Darrell Dexter, the former NDP premier of Nova Scotia who lost Tuesday’s election. Dexter was a strong supporter of the $7.7-billion project that would transmit power from Labrador to Newfoundland and Cape Breton through subsea links.

McNeil’s Liberals won 33 seats in the 51-seat legislature, while the New Democrats were relegated to third-party status with seven seats.

The Progressive Conservatives become the Opposition with 11 members elected.

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