Government moves to strengthen UARB oversight of Maritime Link

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Amendments to Maritime Link Act introduced Tuesday

HALIFAX – Nova Scotia is moving to ensure the Utility and Review Board's Maritime Link decision is supported by legislation and that ratepayers benefit from the project's federal loan guarantee.

Amendments introduced to the Maritime Link Act Tuesday clarify that the UARB has full authority over the project and can ensure Nova Scotia Power Maritime Link (NSPML) complies with all board decisions.

The province has also signed a Canada-Nova Scotia indemnity agreement and almost completed negotiations to allow the use of Crown lands to build the subsea cable so project financing can begin with the federal guarantee.

"We have always stated that if the Maritime Link project is to go ahead, it must do so for the benefit of Nova Scotians," said Energy Minister Andrew Younger. "We have now ensured beyond a shadow of doubt that the full decision of the board stands.

"We have successfully completed negotiations on the indemnity agreement and are very close to completing the subsea land access agreement. These agreements will allow us to access millions of dollars in savings, putting the interests of Nova Scotia ratepayers first."

The indemnity agreement had to be signed to access federal support. As a condition of the federal loan guarantee, the province agrees it will not increase risks for the federal government. The agreement is reasonable commercial practice and does not affect the UARB's ability to protect ratepayers' interests.

The key terms of the federal loan guarantee, signed Nov. 30, 2012, required Nalcor and Emera to finalize all necessary permits, approvals and land-use agreements. The province expects the Crown land-use agreement for the Cabot Strait subsea corridor to be finished

Organizations: Utility and Review Board, Canada-Nova Scotia

Geographic location: Nova Scotia, Nova Scotians

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