04/09/2013 01:10 EDT | Updated 06/09/2013 05:12 EDT

Northern Gateway Pipeline Hearings: Enbridge Lawyers Quiz Opponents

Charles Heit, a Gitxsan First Nation member opposed to the $5.5-billion Enbridge oil pipeline from Alberta to the British Columbia port of Kitimat, warms himself beside a fire at a camp outside the Gitxsan Treaty Office in Hazelton, British Columbia, on Thursday Jan. 12, 2012. The protesters barricaded the treaty office after claiming employees backed the pipeline without receiving authorization from the Gitxsan people. Hereditary Chief Elmer Derrick, a negotiator with the Gitxsan Treaty Office, announced that the first nation decided to take an ownership stake in the pipeline. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Darryl Dyck)

PRINCE RUPERT, B.C. - Lawyers for Enbridge Inc. (TSX:ENB) are getting their turn to question opponents of the proposed Northern Gateway Pipeline as hearings examining the project continue in Prince Rupert.

Enbridge spokesman Ivan Giesbrecht says company lawyers want more detail about research methods and evidence presented at the joint review panel hearings by groups critical of a twinned pipeline between Alberta and B.C.'s West Coast.

Giesbrecht says questions this week will focus on spill projections offered by environmentalists and First Nations, as well as the groups' perceived impacts of the $6-billion project.

Enbridge wants to know more about how critics built their case against the 1,200-kilometre line, which would carry bitumen for shipment overseas, while condensate, a substance used to thin heavy crude, would be piped back to Alberta.

Lawyers cross-examined experts from the Gitga'at First Nation on Monday, questioning the group about the size of its population and how members believe the pipeline could impact their natural resources.

The joint review panel must hear interveners and federal government officials questioned under oath, in advance of final arguments slated for May. The panel report is due by the end of the year. (CFTK)

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