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The president of Nunatsiavut says Nalcor’s plan not to lower water levels at Muskrat Falls until mid-July contravenes a deal reached with the government last fall.

Johannes Lampe said in a statement that he fully expects commitments made by Premier Dwight Ball during a marathon meeting with Labrador’s three indigenous leaders Oct. 26 to be honoured.

On May 25, Nalcor notified Nunatsiavut that water levels in the Muskrat Falls reservoir will not be lowered until mid-July, which the news release from Nunatsiavut called “a direct contravention to one of the commitments made during the fall meeting.”

Nalcor said in a stakeholder update that it needs to keep the water at 21.5 metres until it can install safety equipment.

Based on a scientific evaluation by independent engineers, the three indigenous leaders agreed to allow Nalcor to raise water levels in the reservoir during the winter months in order to protect the physical infrastructure of the project from potential ice damage. In turn, the Premier and the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador agreed to direct Nalcor to release water from the reservoir this spring to allow the river to return to a natural flow so that mitigation measures could be carried out to reduce the impact of methylmercury on the ecosystem and downstream populations.

Lampe expressed the Nunatsiavut Government’s concerns in a letter and directly to the premier this week.

“I advised him that we fully expect him and his government to honor the commitments that were made last fall,” Lampe said. “Water levels in the reservoir should be lowered immediately, in a controlled and safe manner, and in consultation with the Nunatsiavut Government, the Innu Nation and the NunatuKavut Community Council, as well as surrounding communities.”

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