Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism.
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
Just$1.99
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to globeandmail.com
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(select.open)}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](select.open),dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); } //

The official overseeing five Inuit communities in Labrador is calling on the premier to halt the scheduled final flooding of the Muskrat Falls reservoir until measures are taken to mitigate potential methylmercury contamination downstream.

Last week, Nalcor Energy said full impoundment of the Muskrat Falls reservoir – a critical step in completing the controversial, overbudget dam – is anticipated to begin Aug. 7, with a target of raising water levels to 39 metres from the current 24.5 metres by the end of September.

The news comes weeks after senior government officials told an inquiry into the project’s cost and schedule overruns that the window had closed to “cap” the reservoir’s wetlands, as Liberal premier Dwight Ball had committed to doing, before anticipated impoundment this summer.

Story continues below advertisement

Research has indicated that flooding the uncleared reservoir near the dam could cause a spike in methylmercury, formed as vegetation rots under water, in wild food sources used by local Indigenous communities.

Capping would involve covering vegetation and soil with a thick layer of material such as sand or sandy clay to prevent the release of carbon that could contribute to a spike in methylmercury levels.

Nunatsiavut Government president Johannes Lampe said in a statement Monday that Ball “has repeatedly betrayed our trust” and placed Labrador Inuit’s health and culture at risk by failing to take concrete steps on the methylmercury issue.

Lampe expressed frustration with Ball’s lack of public response to recommendations from an advisory committee established to find ways to mitigate the impact of methylmercury on human health.

“We are extremely disappointed with how the premier has handled the whole Muskrat Falls fiasco,” Lampe said.

“In the spirit of reconciliation, we call on the premier to do the right thing and direct Nalcor not to flood the reservoir until the concerns of Labrador Inuit are meaningfully addressed.”

The nearly complete, $12.7-billion Muskrat Falls dam will harness Labrador’s lower Churchill River to provide electricity to the province as well as to Nova Scotia through subsea cables.

Story continues below advertisement

Now years behind schedule and billions of dollars over budget, the filling of the reservoir would bring the beleaguered project closer to reaching full capacity.

The issue of wetland capping arose during Ball’s appearance this month before the Muskrat Falls inquiry. The premier told the inquiry he was disappointed to learn it was too late for capping work.

During his July testimony, Ball maintained he had committed to capping and said it was not neglected for cost reasons. He later told reporters he shared some of the responsibility for the missed window on capping, but added that the procedure would have only mildly offset the effects of methylmercury.

Our Morning Update and Evening Update newsletters are written by Globe editors, giving you a concise summary of the day’s most important headlines. Sign up today.

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

  1. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests.
  2. Check your Following feed daily, and never miss an article. Access your Following feed from your account menu at the top right corner of every page.

Follow topics related to this article:

View more suggestions in Following Read more about following topics and authors
Report an error
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies