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Buck Stops Here

Jason Redmond/AFP/Getty Images

Company halts controversial Canadian pipeline expansion after fierce opposition.

Kinder Morgan announced Sunday that it would stop all nonessential spending on the Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion, citing a need to protect their shareholders because “the Project is now facing unquantifiable risk.”

The company has already spent C$1.1 billion (over $865 million) on the expansion project that, if completed, would allow the pipeline to transport three times more crude oil from Alberta to British Columbia. But it has faced fierce opposition from the B.C. government and the First Nations, who have challenged the federal government’s approval of the project in court.

“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 KML has, rather than risking billions of dollars on an outcome that is outside of our control,” Kinder Morgan CEO Steve Kean said in a statement. The company issued a deadline and ultimatum: Unless it’s given assurance by May 31 that British Columbia will not be able to continue blocking construction, it will drop the project altogether.

The announcement came just one day after protesters gathered for a demonstration at the construction site even in the midst of a storm, forcing the company to stop activities for the day.