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The construction site of the hydroelectric facility at Muskrat Falls, Newfoundland and Labrador in July, 2015.

Andrew Vaughan/THE CANADIAN PRESS

A public inquiry into how the Muskrat Falls hydro project went so far over budget and schedule will start in January.

Premier Dwight Ball says Newfoundland Labrador Supreme Court Justice Richard LeBlanc will lead the inquiry and is to report by Dec. 31, 2019.

The $12.7-billion project — which will also provide energy to Nova Scotia through the underwater Maritime Link — has almost doubled in cost with financing since it was approved five years ago.

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Full power is not expected until 2020, about two years behind schedule.

The inquiry will examine how the Labrador project was approved and executed, and why it was exempt from oversight by the Public Utilities Board.

The inquiry is to make recommendations but will not make findings of criminal or civil responsibility.

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