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Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Why I voted "No" today...

I hope everyone reads this note, and can understand why i voted the way I did today...I'm sending this note to the Telegram as we 'speak"...

Dear editor,

I hope you can see fit to print some of the reasons why I voted “No” …

1) I simply didn't like the "Take or pay" that was there that would have left the taxpayers on the hook for the project. If we are to be committed to buy 40% of the project
, then there was no guarantee that we wouldn’t have been on the hook for the difference, had we not consumed the forty per cent.
I didn't see the assessments by government where they would be able to cover off needed government spending to fund all our social programs, like schools, government buildings, roads and such. The costs to government under the Muskrat scenario simply weren’t done. If costs to operate government facilities were going to be going up, then the taxpayer was also going to be left on the hook for what was needed. It places the taxpayer and consumer under the threat of increased taxes in the future. Municipalities too, with increasing electrical costs would also have to come to their taxpayers looking for more. I simply don’t believe the typical Newfoundland and Labrador family can afford more.

3) No PUB oversight of the project. It would have meant a lot to the confidence that people would have had in the project.

4) Changing dynamics of the north American energy markets. No proof of a market where it might take $5 million to smack a hole in the ground to extract natural gas. US domestic oil production numbers are going to be higher than they initially predict under the Mauderi scenario, if the trend keeps up. The US may have over 14 million a day in oil capacity by 2020, and that should have scared the crap out of government to take that second look.

5) People under wage freezes or increases tied to the rate of inflation would be left in the cold under the immediate electricity price increase from eleven cents now, to Muskrat's "promise" of 15.3 KWH. Core inflation doesn't include increases to basic energy.

6) Under a threat of dropping oil prices, we wouldn't have the revenue stream from oil alone from our own offshore, coupled with a disappearing electrical market in the US, we are going to be sunk!

7 Failing world economic situation, coupled with stagnant world growth, promises a slow demand for electricity and oil.

8) Federal loan guarantee itself only covers off $6.3 b in costs and not a cent more. Using our cash reserves leaves us in a precarious situation.

9) Carbon footprint. Mercury and methane gas would leave a large enough addition to greenhouse gases, rather than a combination of conservation measures. Housing, on January 6th of this year, put out a release of what could be done. According to their own release, a retrofit of houses they done of 2000 homes resulted in net savings of 35% in energy costs, resulting in keeping $800.00 annually in home disposable income.

10) And I'll leave you with this. I have more: Development now, of NG on our shores could have resulted in saving the government millions in its own heating costs in the St. John's area by taking residual steam from the burning in the NG electrical generation process, and heated every government building and institution in the St. John's northeast. MUN spent something in the order of $53 million in oil heating costs last year alone, not to mention, schools, the government buildings, old age homes, etc., that would have saved the government in heating costs. Installing it in the northeast somewhere close to the dump would have resulted in a possible methane recovery program from there, resulting in a smaller provincial GHG footprint.

11) Just one more...A complete lack of vision in selling ourselves to more possibilities. Now, under this scenario of Muskrat, we're under risk of losing one of our only profitable crown corporations in the form of NL Hydro. We're headed down the course of electrical de-regulation!

Today, I voted "no", and I'm proud I did. What I'm not proud of is the fact of the procedure today that has set us on a course for something terrible. We could have worked together in a committee structure to explore all the options and find that pay-off without putting everything at risk.

I hope the people of my district will understand. It was of them that I was thinking, whether it was the retiree on Shea Street or the senior struggling ona modest income in Kenny’s Park Apartments. The needs of the many far outweighed the needs, or the wants of the few.

Regards to all!

George Murphy
St. John's East
Twitter: @GeorgeMurphyMHA  

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