VANCOUVER (Reuters) - Police were investigating a letter on Thursday that threatened more attacks on EnCana Corp’s natural gas facilities in northeast British Columbia and warned that opposition to energy development is growing.
The letter, addressed to energy company EnCana Corp and received by the Dawson Creek Daily News on Wednesday, says a “time out” in the attacks that began last year is over and that a “long and hot summer is coming,” according to a copy released by the police.
“We are working to determine if the letter is a hoax or authentic,” said Sgt. Rob Vermeulen, a spokesman for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
If deemed authentic, it would be the third letter believed linked to a saboteur responsible for six bombings of natural gas pipelines and related facilities near Dawson Creek, British Columbia. A fourth letter was determined to be a hoax.
The attacks on EnCana facilities began in October 2008. They have not caused any injuries, but several caused leaks that police say posed a significant public safety risk.
The first letter, sent shortly before the attacks began, warned they would continue until EnCana pulled out of the area because its operations threaten the health of local residents.
A letter mailed in July made a similar demand but also offered a respite over the summer to give EnCana time to act. There have been no attacks since it was received.
“You had enough time to reconsider your actions but you chose to push and harass and intimidate people in our territories. We are growing in strength and now ready for actions at all your installations,” the author of the latest letter wrote.
While the tone is similar to the first two letters, which were deemed authentic by police, the latest letter is typed rather than handwritten. The letters both threaten EnCana and taunt police for making little headway in the case.
Police have long said they believe the attacks are the work of a local resident or residents with a grudge against EnCana. They have also said they believe some residents of the area are withholding information about the case.
In January, police raided the Alberta farm of Wiebo Ludwig, a prominent oil and gas industry opponent. He was detained briefly, but released without charges.
Ludwig, who was convicted of sabotage in Alberta a decade ago, has expressed sympathy for the motives of the British Columbia bomber, but also urged an end to the attacks and denied any involvement in them.
“Every time they harass Wiebo Ludwig it proves their desperation, which means that they don’t know anything,” the author of the new letter wrote.
Reporting Allan Dowd; editing by Peter Galloway