01/15/2014 02:09 EST | Updated 03/17/2014 05:59 EDT

Kinder Morgan Pipeline Opponent Says Review Rules Discourage Critics

Kinder Morgan

VANCOUVER - Opponents of Kinder Morgan's proposed expansion of its Trans Mountain oil pipeline say the process for signing up to participate in public hearings is discouraging critics.

Under new federal rules brought in last year, participation in such federal regulatory review hearings is limited to those who can prove they are directly affected by a project.

Applications are being accepted by the National Energy Board from Jan. 15 to Feb. 12.

The Wilderness Committee says the process now involves signing up for a government user ID or through a financial institution and then completing a lengthy online application form, or waiting for the official form to be delivered by mail.

The group's Eoin Madden says the sign-up process and other changes are limiting public participation.

Before making the changes, federal Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver expressed concern that "foreign special interest groups" had "hijacked" the regulatory process.

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