10/16/2012 09:12 EDT | Updated 12/16/2012 05:12 EST

Oil Spill Response Questioned At Northern Gateway Hearings

FILE - In this July 29, 2012 file photo, a worker monitors the water in Talmadge Creek in Marshall Township, Mich., near the Kalamazoo River as oil from a ruptured pipeline, owned by Enbridge Inc, is vacuumed out the water. Federal investigators are expected to present their findings Tuesday, July 10, 2012 on the likely cause of a pipeline rupture that spilled more than 800,000 gallons of crude oil into the river nearly two years ago. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya, File)

The B.C. government is pressing Enbridge on how the company plans to respond to an oil spill on the proposed Northern Gateway pipeline.

The province resumed its questioning at the Joint Review Panel hearings in Prince George Tuesday afternoon.

Among the government's concerns is how accessible the pipeline would be in the event of a spill.

"Northern Gateway has, in many cases, not yet determined access areas or places in which it could access where a spill could travel," Christopher Jones, a lawyer representing the province, said Tuesday.

"We’ve talked about the goal of Northern Gateway to develop a world-class spill response capability, and this would include … the ability to effectively respond to any spill in a timely manner … Would the panel agree that in constructing this pipeline, Northern Gateway faces a number of challenges?"

Enbridge says it is still working on detailed mapping in terms of the time it would take to respond should an oil spill occur.

The company was unable to say what percentage of the pipeline route is over two kilometers away from an existing roadway.

Questioning on emergency response and preparedness will continue for the remainder of the week.

Star power

Meanwhile, those fighting the Northern Gateway pipeline are getting celebrity backing for the cause.

Canadian singer-songwriter Sarah Harmer joined Nobel Peace Prize winner Jody Williams and a group of other women on an eight-day tour of the proposed oil pipeline route.

Harmer says she believes the country should instead be transitioning to renewable energy sources and keeping its natural resources intact.

The tour was organized by the Ottawa-based Nobel Women's Initiative and met with more than 200 women in 13 communities from Fort McMurray in Alberta to Kitimat.

And organizers of Defend Our Coast — a mass sit-in, launched by numerous organizations, including First Nations and environmental groups and unions, slated for Monday at the legislature in Victoria — is gaining some high-profile support.

Greenpeace says entertainers such as Michael Moore, Ellen Page and Daryl Hannah are endorsing the protest — but there's no word if they'll attend the demonstration.

Hannah says U.S. protesters stand in solidarity with those opposing the Enbridge Northern Gateway and Kinder Morgan pipelines.

The actress, known for her work in "Splash" and "Blade Runner," was arrested earlier this month while blockading construction of the Keystone XL pipeline in Texas.

Greenpeace says 3,500 people have signed an online pledge to take action in the Defend Our Coast demonstration.

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