13 May 2010

Lower Churchill: Imaginary project. Imaginary News Stories. (and one they ignore)

CTV  - via the Canadian Press’s Shawn McCarthy - got it wrong.

Badly wrong.

So too did the Globe:  they relied on McCarthy’s story.

VOCM got it wrong, too. 

They relied on NALCOR and the provincial government.  After all, Danny Williams admitted he hadn’t read a translation of the decision;  he was relying on four pages of “errors” from the decision by the Quebec energy regulatory board on three applications by Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro related to transmission lines through Quebec.

The Montreal Gazette got it right.

So too did CBC St. John’s, graced for the first time in a while by Hisself live and in person.

Here’s the CBC lede:

Quebec's energy regulator has turned down a request from Newfoundland and Labrador to intervene in an ongoing dispute over pushing power from a proposed hydroelectric megaproject across Quebec's power lines.

And here’s the Gazette [link above]

Hydro-Quebec's existing power lines don't have the capacity to transport energy from a new hydroelectric project in Labrador south to export markets, Quebec's energy board said in a controversial ruling Wednesday.

The CP story started out completely wrong:

Quebec’s energy regulator dealt a blow to Newfoundland and Labrador’s plan to develop a massive power project on the Lower Churchill River, denying the province’s push to have Hydro-Québec transmit electricity to markets in the U.S. and Canada.

One of the reasons CBC got the story right is because they have the actual decision.  They weren’t relying on the opinions  - legal or otherwise – of the same rocket scientists who delivered the Abitibi FUBAR Follies.

The Lower Churchill project has no markets and it has no money, other than what is coming from provincial taxpayers.  As such, it is a project that exists on paper;  it’s an imaginary project.

There is also absolutely nothing stopping NALCOR from doing what Danny Williams has committed to doing all along;  running power through Quebec and, if need be, paying for new transmission facilities to carry the power. Therefore, there is no reason to believe this decision by the Quebec energy regulator affects the Lower Churchill project at all;  therefore it is an imaginary news story, at least as presented by the people who got it wrong.

And by the way, in the got-it-wrong, imaginary news category,  the new CBC story  that the Premier is thinking of taking his campaign against Hydro-Quebec to the Untied States is way off:

The Régie de l'énergie dismissed a complaint of fair dealing from Nalcor, Newfoundland and Labrador's Crown-owned energy corporation.

NALCOR’s three applications to the Regie included in the decision on May 12 were about technical questions in the way certain calculations were made in preparing an assessment of the costs and implications of Hydro’s plan to wheel power from the imaginary Lower Churchill project to five destinations.

This wasn’t a “fair dealing” issue either directly in the sense of the other lawsuit NALCOR is pursuing, nor was it a decision against fair dealing, as implied by the sentence. 

But for all that, there is a huge Lower Churchill story the mainstream media continue to ignore.  What a time to bring it up, as Danny Williams is ranting once again about the evil Hydro-Quebec:

Despite five years of secret efforts, Danny Williams could not persuade Hydro-Quebec to take an ownership stake in the Lower Churchill without having to pay any compensation for the 1969 deal. That’s the story natural resources minister Kathy Dunderdale  - inadvertently - revealed last fall.