Edmonton

Convicted bomber urges end to pipeline attacks

Convicted gas-well bomber Wiebo Ludwig has written an open letter to whoever is responsible for several bombings of an EnCana pipeline in British Columbia.

Convicted gas-well bomber Wiebo Ludwig has written an open letter to whomever is responsible for several bombings of an EnCana pipeline in British Columbia.

Ludwig, who lives just across the provincial boundary in Hythe, Alta., said he decided to reach out to appeal for peace and try to calm the situation.

After shying away from speaking publicly about the bombings, Ludwig told an Edmonton radio station that he wrote the letter because he felt he needed to make a personal pitch for peace to whomever is behind the EnCana bombings.

"I just hope that he isn't going to lose it and do something dangerous," Ludwig said in an interview aired on Saturday.

In July, a newspaper in Dawson Creek, B.C., received a letter warning the bombings would get worse unless the Calgary-based energy company shut down its operations in the area. The letter promised a three-month lull while EnCana considered the demand.

In his open letter, Ludwig writes that the person behind the pipeline attacks has stimulated "valuable discussion" about the environmental dangers of fossil fuel development.

But local residents are also worried about what might happen, he wrote.

"There is real fear, however, on the part of many that you may be far from satisfied with what happens during these three months, especially if the industry refuses to take any conciliatory and remedial action whatsoever," Ludwig wrote.

Ludwig added that perhaps the bomber has children in a local school surrounded by oil and gas activity, something that may concern many parents in the area.

"I want to encourage you not to let anger about such stupidity get the best of you and to realize that these conflicts cannot ultimately be settled by use of force, but by way of informed and patient persuasion. Please give that the time it needs now," Ludwig wrote.

Part of his motivation for writing the letter, Ludwig said, is to show solidarity with those who share the bomber's environmental concerns but are too frightened to speak out for fear of being criticized by neighbours and friends, or for fear of being harassed by police.

In July, EnCana boosted its reward fund to $1 million for information leading to the prosecution of anyone responsible for six pipeline attacks since last October. It's one of the largest rewards in Canadian history, matching the $1 million offered by the RCMP during the hunt for those responsible for blowing up a 1985 Air India flight that killed 329 people, most of them Canadian.

$1M reward

The reward has created suspicions among local residents and has broken their sense of community, something that has short-circuited opposition to oil and gas activities in the region, Ludwig wrote.

"I hope he listens and gives more time for some discussion, and it calms people down, including the RCMP and industry," Ludwig told the radio station.

Ludwig was released from jail in 2001 after serving two-thirds of a 28-month sentence for bombings and vandalism aimed at sour-gas producers.

Two EnCana gas wells and one owned by Suncor Inc. were hit in 1998, and another blast cratered a road leading to a Norcen Energy well site.

In July, Ludwig said, the RCMP asked him to help catch the EnCana bomber but he said he wouldn't "squeal" on whoever the culprit may be.

Sgt. Tim Shields, an RCMP spokesman, said police hadn't seen Ludwig's letter and so couldn't comment on its contents.

A spokesman for EnCana couldn't immediately be reached for comment.

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