Kinder Morgan halts non-essential spending on Trans Mountain expansion
Kinder Morgan announced Sunday it's halting investor spending and suspending all non-essential activities on its Trans Mountain Expansion Project.
In a news release, the energy infrastructure company said that given "current circumstances," specifically continued opposition actions in B.C., it will not commit additional shareholder resources to the project.
"The uncertainty as to whether we will be able to finish what we start leads us to the conclusion that we should protect the value that [Kinder Morgan] has, rather than risking billions of dollars on an outcome that is outside our control," Kinder Morgan's chairman and CEO Steve Kean said in a statement.
The company's marine terminal in Burnaby, B.C. has been the site of ongoing protests opposing the expansion project.
A pipeline protester there on Sunday said she was excited by the company's announcement.
"I'm ecstatic about the press release that Kinder Morgan has finally exhausted enough resources to back off," said Kwitsel Tatel.
Kinder Morgan said it will consult with stakeholders and try to reach an agreement by May 31. At that time, it may decide to proceed with the project.
"The focus in those consultations will be on two principles: clarity on the path forward, particularly with respect to the ability to construct through B.C., and adequate protection of [Kinder Morgan] shareholders," the company said in the release.
The proposed expansion project would triple the amount of diluted bitumen flowing along the pipeline route from Alberta to Burnaby. The project was approved by the federal government in 2016.
B.C. Premier John Horgan addressed media Sunday afternoon, and said B.C. is not unnecessarily harassing the project.
"Our job, we believe, is to defend our water, our lands and, most importantly, our coast," he said in Victoria.
He said his government has no intention of escalating confrontation across the country, but said he will not give up his responsibility to defend the province's interest.
Alberta Premier Rachel Notley spoke to reporters Sunday afternoon, insisting her province is prepared to do whatever it takes to get the pipeline built.
"Alberta is prepared to be an investor in the pipeline," Notley said. "If we take that step, we will be a significantly more determined investor than B.C. has dealt with up to this point."
She said thousands of jobs and billions of dollars are at stake, and that tax revenue generated from the project would mean better public schools and hospitals for Alberta.
She also called on the federal government to act in defence of people in Western Canada's energy industry who want the pipeline built, citing previous interventions into Ontario's auto industry and Quebec's aerospace industry.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has previously insisted the project would be completed despite protests and the B.C. government's continued battle against it in the courts.
On Sunday, Minister of Natural Resources Jim Carr said federal government is determined to find a solution.
"We will act in Canada's national interest to see that this project is built," he tweeted.