The Hamilton Spectator reports, "The National Energy Board will be forced to reopen hearings into a controversial pipeline project that runs through rural Hamilton if a judge agrees with the civil court challenge against it, says a Toronto lawyer handling the lawsuit. Clayton Ruby says his firm has asked that the National Energy Board (NEB) follow better procedures to allow for wider participation should the hearings be ordered to reconvene."
"ForestEthics, a B.C.-based nonprofit, and Donna Sinclair, a North Bay author, launched the lawsuit. Ruby said the Council of Canadians' Thunder Bay chapter has also intervened."
"His firm — Ruby Shiller Chan Hasan — is also suing the federal government and Enbridge over the narrowed scope of the regulatory body's hearings into the Canadian pipeline company's Line 9 proposal. ...Ruby's firm alleges changes that the federal Conservatives tucked into their 2012 omnibus budget bill violate Charter rights by restricting public participation in the Line 9 hearings, which took place in October in Montreal and Toronto. Would-be participants, for example, had to fill out 10-page forms to apply, be directly affected by the pipeline, and weren't allowed to present arguments about the oilsands."
"His firm plans to submit all its documentation to the Federal Court of Appeal on Thursday. The respondents' submission deadline is Feb. 24. ...With the board expected to deliver a decision on the Line 9 project in March, Ruby said he'll ask the court for the earliest possible date to start proceedings."
"A spokesperson for Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver said his office doesn't comment on ongoing legal matters. An NEB spokesperson said she wasn't prepared to comment Tuesday."