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Former premier testifies to moments of 'stress' after Muskrat Falls sanction

Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Kathy Dunderdale announces a deal to finance the Muskrat Falls hydroelectric project during a news conference in St. John's on December 10, 2013. The former premier who sanctioned Newfoundland and Labrador's controversial Muskrat Falls dam said she was ready to drop the project if she thought it would compromise the public's trust in her government. The 824-megawatt hydroelectric dam has essentially doubled in costs to more than $12.7 billion since Kathy Dunderdale's government signed off on it in December 2012. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Kennedy

ST. JOHN’S, N.L. — The former premier who sanctioned Newfoundland and Labrador’s controversial Muskrat Falls hydroelectric megaproject says she was ready to drop the project if she thought it would compromise the public’s trust in her government.

The cost of the 824-megawatt dam has essentially doubled to more than $12.7 billion since Kathy Dunderdale’s government signed off on it in December 2012.

Dunderdale is testifying this week at the inquiry looking into cost and schedule overruns that have plagued the project she once championed.

The former premier spoke Tuesday about a moment after the project was sanctioned when she thought she might have to pull the plug, even if it cost her political career.

She said she would only sanction Muskrat Falls with a $4.5-billion federal loan guarantee, but recalled a period of “stress” months later when she learned Nova Scotia’s Emera, a partner in the venture, had not met all conditions for the loan guarantee.

The Canadian Press