We get 14% of our oil and natural gas from Canada so where is the American Press on this one?
EnCana bomber probe chills B.C. community
Neighbours paranoid over unsolved attacks
I t is early evening in Tomslake and the rural roads are eerily quiet.
This corner of northeastern British Columbia is no longer the place to go for an idle drive, even on one of summer’s last beautiful days.
As the tension ratchets up around the now 11-month search for the EnCana bomber, chances are a watchful, nervous neighbour will call the RCMP.
“You don’t just hop in your truck and drive around anymore,” says one local farmer. He hasn’t driven certain roads for months now, because he doesn’t want people second-guessing why he is there. Nevertheless, he feels strongly enough about the burgeoning gas development to take a reporter and photographer on a short tour to point out the many drilling rigs, flares and compressor stations in his area.
The farmer is too nervous to have his name published, for fear of becoming the target of RCMP interrogations, harassment and phone tapping. This is what happens to anyone who openly criticizes the oilpatch in the area, he says, a view echoed by others.
The wish to avoid police attention has made residents reluctant to talk, even to each other, about the bomber or development issues for fear their views might be misconstrued.
At the Dawson Creek RCMP detachment, Staff Sgt. Stephen Grant is conscious of those concerns, but he won’t comment further on the chilling effect the incidents and the resulting investigation are having on the community. The RCMP, along with the Integrated National Security Enforcement Team, have thrown considerable resources at the hunt for the perpetrator–or perpetrators –of the six explosions on EnCana pipelines.
Grant says they’ve had more than 250 staff working on the case over the last 11 months — as many as 40 or 50 at certain points in time. About 1,000 interviews have been conducted, he adds.
Last week, the Dawson Creek detachment set up a new rural unit in Tomslake, 28 kilometres to the south. Part of the mandate of the four officers in the new unit is to ease the security fears of people in the area.
But residents say they won’t relax until the bomber is caught. Not even the bomber’s most recent letter –promising a three-month vacation from attacks to give EnCana time to announce a withdrawal from the area –has provided any relief.
Been going on for awhile too:
Pipeline bombers probably local: expert
By Jamie Hall
The Edmonton Journal
January 6, 2009
Attacks audacious, U of A researcher saysWhatever the bombers lack in technical ability, they make up for in will and audacity, a University of Alberta researcher said after the latest pipeline bombings at EnCana natural gas facilities in northern B.C.
“We’re clearly dealing with someone who’s an amateur, but it does show that although they lack technical ability, their will is certainly not lacking,” said eco-terrorism expert Paul Joosse.
“They’re continuing to carry out these attacks, even though we’re throwing everything we have at them from a law enforcement perspective.”
Evidence of the fourth explosion in three months was discovered Sunday by EnCana workers near the community of Tomslake, about 20 kilometres southeast of Dawson Creek.
The crew noticed damage to a small building housing a natural gas meter at a well site, which was promptly shut down as a precaution. A company spokesman said there was no damage to the wellhead or the pipeline, nor was there a gas leak at the facility.
The RCMP in Dawson Creek are investigating the bombings, with help from the Integrated National Security Enforcement Team, the explosives disposal unit and the forensic identification unit.
Joosse is convinced the attacks are being carried out by someone who lives in the area, but said it’s difficult to say whether it’s a single individual or a “small tightly knit group.”
“Even if it is an individual,” said Joosse, “there are other people who know about this person and are complicit in helping, if only through their silence.”
Residents blocked oil and gas vehicles on a road running through the community of Kelly Lake last summer, an event Joosse said was a precursor to the explosions.
Joosse said the blockade was an illustration of “widespread community support for civil disobedience, and a widespread sentiment of frustration” by locals angry over what they see as the destruction of their land.
Apparently not everyone is real happy about the enormous damage being done to the environment AND the quality of life there. Can’t let the American Press know about that. Or do they care.
Is the EnCana Bomber a Terrorist or a Hero?
Since last October, a man has been blowing up EnCana pipelines in B.C. (Everyone seems to assume the bombings are the work of a man acting on his own.) So far, no one has been injured by these attacks.
There have been six incidents in the past 10 months, and the police appear to have approximately zero leads.
From a July 16 story in the National Post: “Despite a $500,000 reward, more than 250 investigators and 450 local people interviewed, there has been no public break in the investigation.”
Earlier this month the bomber sent a letter to the Dawson Creek News in which he gives EnCana “three months to convince the residents here and the general public” that they will “cease all [their] activities and remove all [their] installations”. (He calls this a “summer vacation”.)
The writer indicates that failure to comply with this demand will result in attacks more destructive that the “six minor and fully controlled explosions” that have occurred to date. (The RCMP for their part describe the explosions as “extremely violent in nature and … very dangerous to the local community.”)
Although the letter is certainly the work of a radical, its tone and content do not appear delusional.
“You are on the wrong side of the argument,” the bomber writes. “Use your excessive earnings to install green energy alternatives… That can be negotiated here but there will be no negotiation with you on fossil fuel activities.”
Radical and threatening? Yes. Deranged and out of control? Not really.
In any case, the RCMP have now decided to call the bomber a “domestic terrorist”.
This may be an attempt to provoke the man in the hope that he screws up in response. (“B.C. Bomber Makes TV Appearance to Deny Link to Al Qaeda.”) Or it could be a public-relations effort by the RCMP in which the EnCana bomber is very subtly inserted into people’s mental category of the universally-detested villain.
If theory #2 is correct, however, it’s not clear who’s winning the PR battle.
Indeed, a sampling of recent newspaper stories and readers’ comments on the topic shows that the EnCana bomber enjoys a significant level of popular support.
“mikebreta” commenting on the Globe & Mail web site:
I like what the bomber is doing. I wish there were more people like him. Standing up for what he believe in. Way to go bomber.
“Joe Canadian” writing on the National Post web site:
The RCMP, and many news outlets are painting Encana as good guys. I suppose they are given that the person(s) who are blowing up their pipelines are committing illegal acts. Still, I have to side with residents who don’t want this sour gas pipeline running nearby their town, and especially near their children’s school. Even if they catch the person doing this, no jury in this country is going to send the perpetrator to jail for doing a public service.
I know how I would vote.