Arrest in probe of Canadian pipeline bombings

Fri Jan 8, 2010 4:55pm EST
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By Allan Dowd

VANCOUVER, British Columbia (Reuters) - An energy industry opponent who was convicted of sabotage in Alberta a decade ago has been arrested in connection with recent bombings of natural gas facilities in British Columbia, his lawyer said on Friday.

Wiebo Ludwig has been charged with attempted extortion of EnCana Corp, whose pipelines and natural gas equipment near Dawson Creek, British Columbia, were the subject of six attacks, Ludwig's lawyer, Paul Moreau, said.

"My information from the RCMP is he is being charged with one count of extortion against EnCana," Moreau told Reuters.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police arrested Ludwig and began searching a large farm they said Ludwig was associated with in Hythe, Alberta, a small rural community located about 25 km (16 miles) from the British Columbia border.

Moreau was waiting for details from the police of evidence against his client. "I can't connect the dots right now because I'm still waiting to be told how they connect," he said.

The British Columbia attacks, which have caused damage but no injuries, are believed to be linked to two anonymous handwritten letters sent to the media that warned EnCana to pull its natural gas operations out of the Dawson Creek area.

The letters, one before the first attack in October 2008, and the other in July shortly after the last attack, complained about the dangers of drilling for sour gas in the area.

Police said the arrest and raid on the farm stemmed from information they received during the autumn of 2009, but declined to give details.   Continued...