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Muskrat Falls

How a Mega Dam Became a Predatory Formation

Edited by Lisa Moore & Stephen Crocker
Categories: Environmental Studies, Economics, Indigenous Studies, Oil And Energy, Policy And Politics, Newfoundland And Labrador Studies
Series: Social and Economic Papers
Series Number: 39
Paperback : 9781894725941, 300 pages, November 2021

Table of contents

Map of the Muskrat Falls Hydroelectric Project

Foreword | Warren Cariou

Introduction: How a Public Utility Became a “Predatory Formation” | Stephen Crocker


Section One: The Threat Downstream: A Sacrifice Zone in Labrador


Hydraulic Imperialism and the Infrastructure of Canadian Colonialism | Shiri Pasternak

Exploring the Health and Well-being Concerns of Labrador Land Protectors | Jessica Penney

“Industrial Colonization”: Muskrat Falls in a Settler-Colonial Context | Neria Aylward

Muskrat Falls: Methylmercury, Food Security, and Canadian Hydroelectric Development | Ryan S. D. Calder, Amina T. Schartup, Trevor Bell, and Elsie M. Sunderland

Stability of the North Spur at Muskrat Falls | Stig Bernander and Lennart Elfgren


Section Two: Political Economy of an “Investment without Economics”


Because Financialization: How Muskrat Falls Can Succeed as an Investment and Fail as a Public Utility | Stephen Crocker

Will Muskrat Falls Pay Dividends? | David Vardy

Muskrat Falls: Investment without Economics | James P. Feehan


Section Three: Representing and Resisting the Crisis: Journalism, Art, and Fiction


Muskrat Falls and the Imperative to Decolonize Journalism | Justin Brake

Criminalizing Journalism: Justin Brake and The Independent | Robin Whitaker

Confronting Recklessness: The Role of the Uncle Gnarley Blog | Des Sullivan

Art and Activism at Muskrat Falls | Jennifer Dyer

Embodying Crisis | Lisa Moore

Words Spoken before All Others: Ashes and Penance | Gerald Vaandering

The Fever | Rhonda Pelley

When She Said to Decolonize | Tracey Doherty

A multi-dimensional analysis of the social, political, and environmental problems the hydroelectric project has caused.


For more than a decade now, the $13 billion Muskrat Falls hydroelectric project has been generating a never-ending assemblage of crises in the public life of Newfoundland and Labrador. The dam’s promise of clean hydro power has been accompanied by menacing risks of methylmercury poisoning and catastrophic flooding that threaten people who live near the dam in Labrador. Meanwhile, the dismantling of public regulatory bodies, dubious investment finance, and the suppression of alternative energy sources have resulted in unmanageable public debt and a future of unaffordable heat and electricity.

Muskrat Falls: How a Mega Dam Became a Predatory Formation offers a multi-dimensional analysis of the social, political, and environmental problems generated by the hydro project. The volume covers Indigenous resistance to the dam, the role of journalism and social media, and the science and politics of methylmercury and geophysical stability. It contains scholarly essays, interviews, original artwork, photographs, and a short story impelled by Muskrat Falls.


“This searing indictment—economically, scientifically, politically, morally, artistically—of the Muskrat Falls development is a must-read for anyone affected by, or concerned about, the future of Indigenous Peoples, the state, and hydro power, both in Labrador and in Canada generally. "

- Daniel Macfarlane, author of Fixing Niagara Falls: Environment, Energy, and Engineers at the World’s Most Famous Waterfall

Muskrat Falls delves deeply and widely into what economically, environmentally and culturally ails the development....It's not light reading, but it is accessible, and given human face and voice where possible.

- Joan Sullivan, The Telegram