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Archive for the ‘Industry’ Category

Firebombing mystifies former oil sands executive

KATHERINE O’NEILL
The Globe and Mail
January 13, 2009

EDMONTON [Alberta] — A former top oil executive and his wife are searching for answers after the firebombing of their Edmonton home on the weekend left them homeless.

“My wife and I are deeply saddened by the loss of our home and our personal possessions,” Jim Carter, a former Syncrude Canada Ltd. president and chief operating officer, said in a statement yesterday.

“At the moment, we have very little information about what may have transpired or why,” Mr. Carter said.

Patrycia Thenu, an Edmonton police spokeswoman, said investigators are still hunting for a motive in the arson case, including possible connections to eco-terrorism. “Nothing has been ruled out,” she said.

Edmonton police revealed yesterday that several Molotov cocktails were recovered inside the charred remains of the Carters’ luxury home in a southwest Edmonton neighbourhood.

A witness reported seeing four youths running from the area at the time the fire began on Saturday around 8 p.m., according to police.

Nobody was in the two-storey home at the time of the blaze, and damage is estimated at $850,000.

Ms. Thenu said investigators have also not found any evidence linking this case to deliberate fire-bombings in another Edmonton neighbourhood last year.

Mr. Carter and his wife, Lorraine Bray, a psychologist, are well known in Edmonton and have six grown children.

Mr. Carter worked for Syncrude, one of Alberta’s largest oil sands companies, for 27 years before retiring in 2007. The mining industry veteran is credited with helping to build Alberta’s oil sands industry.

Last year, the provincial government asked him to chair a council studying how carbon capture and storage technology can be better used in Alberta.

The province is under intense pressure from environmental groups to solve the problem of its so-called dirty oil and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Paul Joosse, a University of Alberta researcher and eco-terrorism expert, said because of Mr. Carter’s deep connections to the oil industry, it’s wise for the police to not rule out environmental extremism.

However, he said it’s still too early in the investigation to jump to conclusions, and that eco-terrorism attacks of this nature against oil executives in Canada are unheard of.

Mr. Joosse noted that one U.S. environmental group uses arson in its attacks.

However, he added that it, along with other environmental groups, routinely claim responsibility for their actions.

“That hasn’t happened here,” he said.

Edmonton-based Greenpeace Canada activist Mike Hudema agrees that there are no tell-tale signs yet that Mr. Carter and his wife were targeted because of his links to the oil industry.

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RCMP probing new B.C. pipeline bombing

The Canadian Press
January 5, 2009

TOMSLAKE, B.C. — EnCana’s natural gas infrastructure in northern British Columbia has been the target of a fourth explosion, but officials with the Calgary-based energy giant still don’t know why it is the focus of a bomber’s anger.

Gas line workers discovered a partially destroyed metering shed on Sunday at a wellhead near the community of Tomslake, southeast of Dawson Creek on the eastern side of the Rocky Mountains.

There was no damage to the wellhead and no leak, said a spokesman with EnCana.

It’s the fourth attack in three months on EnCana natural gas operations in the area, located about 1,200 kilometres northeast of Vancouver near the B.C.-Alberta boundary.

The blasts began on Oct. 12, when a pipeline was damaged. Another pipeline was hit on Oct. 16, causing a small leak, and an explosion at a wellhead on Oct. 31 also caused a leak.

The first three explosions involved pipelines or wellheads carrying sour gas — which contains toxic hydrogen sulphide.

EnCana spokesman Alan Boras said it’s not clear whether the latest wellhead targeted also contains sour gas, but he said in any event all of the operations in the area only contain small amounts of hydrogen sulphide.

“Typically the wells in that area contain a trace,” said Mr. Boras.

The attacks revealed local anxiety about the area’s rapidly growing natural gas industry.

They were preceded by a threatening letter demanding oil and gas operations be stopped, prompting the RCMP to speculate that the explosions are likely the work of someone from the area with a grudge against EnCana.

EnCana has long insisted it has a positive relationship with locals, and Mr. Boras said the company still doesn’t know why it’s been targeted.

“Generally speaking, the relationship has been very good,” said Mr. Boras.

“From time to time, obviously people have concerns, but that’s part of the normal course of business but we work hard to understand their concerns.”

Last month, the company announced it had set up a dedicated telephone line so whoever is responsible for the explosions could call to discuss their concerns.

Mr. Boras said he couldn’t say whether anyone took the company up on the offer because that would be part of the police investigation.

Also last month, police released eight video surveillance images from a local drug store taken on the day the letter was mailed in October.

Seven of the eight people have since been identified and ruled out as suspects, while the identity of the eighth, a woman, is still unknown.

There are more than 4,000 producing oil and gas wells in British Columbia, all in the northeastern part of the province.

The industry has seen massive growth since the mid-90s, with provincial revenues jumping from $370-million in 1996 to $2.5-billion in 2006 — mostly related to natural gas projects.

The explosions brought back memories of Wiebo Ludwig’s campaign against Alberta’s oil patch in the 1990s.

The Alberta farmer, who blamed the industry for hurting his family, his land and his livestock, spent nearly two years in prison for charges related to bombings and vandalism.

Police said they have spoken with Ludwig as part of their investigation, but don’t consider him a suspect.

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Shots fired, valves damaged at B.C. natural gas sites

The Canadian Press

December 18, 2008

FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. — Several natural gas well sites in northeastern British Columbia have been targeted by vandals but RCMP in Fort St. John, B.C., aren’t immediately linking the attacks to three earlier bombings of EnCana pipelines.

Investigators say valves were tampered with and shots were fired at well sites operated by Iteration Energy and Canadian Natural Resources Ltd.

RCMP describe the incidents as mischief and say the attacks appear to have occurred up to one week ago on wells operated by the two Alberta-based exploration and resource extraction companies.

The well sites are located in rural areas northeast of Fort St. John and no homes are nearby.

Members of the Fort St. John serious crimes unit are investigating and say there is no evidence suggesting the incidents are related to the recent targeted attacks on EnCana well sites.

Three bombings in October aimed at EnCana’s natural gas operations near Dawson Creek are still being investigated by RCMP.

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5 Arrested in Cayuga Blocking Police Escort of Garbage onto Native Land

OPP (Ontario Provincial Police) determined to escort garbage into the Edwards Street Landfill, but even after arrest of 4 supporters, Six Nations activists refuse to remove blockade. OPP violently arrest Six Nations man leaving the site.

December 11, 2008

CAYUGA, ONTARIO, CANADA – For almost five years, community members from the small town of Cayuga have been fighting to close down and to clean up the Edward Street Landfill. Haldimand Against Landfill Transfers (HALT) was formed in 2004 to prevent one of Ontario’s worst contaminated sites, from becoming an active landfill again. After having spent four years in and out of courts, petitioning and dealing with government bureaucracy, HALT approached the Six Nations’ Haudenosaunee Men’s Council to work together on this issue. Cayuga is adjacent to the Six Nations reservation and is located on Haudenosaunee land. It was last November that representatives from Six Nations and HALT turned around dump trucks, resulting in the closure of the site for the winter. This past Monday, despite flagrant noncompliance with Ministry of Environment (MOE) regulations, the dump’s operating owners tried to bring garbage into the dump for the first time in twelve months.

Monday morning, thirty activists—with groups coming from London, Kitchener-Waterloo (KW), Guelph, and Hamilton—converged at the corner of Brooks Road and Highway 3 in Cayuga, to stand with representatives from HALT and Six Nations.

“The reason there are young people here from communities across the region is because we have a responsibility to prevent the provincial government, the courts, and their enforcement – the OPP, from enabling the destruction of communities’ land and trampling on their right to protect it,” said Alex Hundert from the KW activist group AW@L.

Once the blockade had ended, a vehicle leaving the site, carrying three people from Six Nations, was pulled over by a large string of police cruisers, and one man was violently arrested. At bail-court the next morning, the Crown prosecutor admitted that the accused man from Six Nations only “passively resisted,” but still, more than a dozen officers were involved in the assault. He was ripped from the car, thrown to the ground then kicked and tasered repeatedly. He was arrested for “failure to appear” charges stemming from an incident at the Douglas Creek Reclamation site in 2006—the original charges have already been dropped. All five arrested men were released on bail Tuesday morning.

Jody Orr, a HALT representative, said that she was “distressed by what happened on Monday. We have a situation where there is evidence that the receiver is still not in compliance,” however “we have the MOE giving the receiver a week to bring in garbage while he is still in violation of the COA, and it puts the OPP in a position where they have to enforce an injunction against protesters who are protesting the illegal dumping of garbage.” Orr said she was also “really concerned in terms of what i heard about the level of force that was used.”

According to HALT’s website, on October 16 of this year, “the same day that Minister of the Environment, John Gerretsen, posted the Zero Waste Policy paper on the Environmental Bill of Rights website, HALT and others involved in the Edwards Landfill issue in Cayuga received an email that waste would be coming to the Edwards Landfill site.” HALT has shown that the Landfill does not comply with the MOE’s Certificate of Approval (COA). Still, garbage is being allowed into the site. As a result, HALT, Six Nations and supporters decided to be ready with the blockade.

On Monday after the arrests, once it became obvious that representatives from Six Nations were not going to stop preventing the garbage truck from passing (all other vehicles were permitted to travel freely), the truck company owner ordered the truck to leave the site and return home. Earlier in the morning, the driver had expressed interest in leaving the scene, however OPP ordered him to stay. Police said that they were intent in seeing that the injunction against the blockade would be enforced. Even after arresting four supporters, the OPP were not able to remove the Six Nations activists blocking the road.

Over the past year and more, HALT has been involved in complicated legal proceedings with the site’s operators and the MOE. Since 2004, those efforts have cost over $100,000. For more information about those proceedings, ongoing developments, and the environmental impact at the site, visit HALT’s website, http://www.haltthedump.ca.
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Contacts:
Cayuga – Jody Orr, HALT, info[at]halthtedump.ca, http://www.haltthedump.ca,
Kitchener-Waterloo – Alex Hundert, alex[at]peaceculture.org, http://www.peaceculture.org

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Protesters stop garbage delivery (Dunnville Chronicle)

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Burning barricade suspects held for bail hearings

November 12, 2008
Guelph Mercury staff
GUELPH [Ontario]

Five people are facing charges after being arrested at a burning barricade in south Guelph.

Guelph Police arrived at the corner of Gordon Street South and Clair Road just before 9 a.m. Monday to find about 20 people building a barricade of wood and debris on the road, blocking traffic.

Guelph Police spokesperson Sergeant Doug Pflug said many of the protesters had their faces covered with bandanas.

Signs at the protest read, “No cops in Guelph,” “No cops in Tyendinga” and “Dear Nestle I hate you.”

When the first cruiser arrived, the group advanced toward it, and one man began kicking the car, police said.

The barricade was then lit on fire, and a liquid accelerant was dumped on it in an attempt to keep it burning.

When several other officers arrived at the scene, the group broke up and scattered in various directions.

Police pursued them and arrested six people.

Firefighters were called to the scene, but the fire went out before they arrived.

The road was closed for about 30 minutes while the barrier was dismantled. The liquid accelerant, as well as a large quantity of nails, were cleaned up.

[Z.], 23, of Guelph, was charged with arson, mischief, assaulting a police officer, resisting arrest and wearing a disguise.

[D.], 20, of Hamilton, was charged with arson, mischief and resisting arrest.

[Y.], 23, of Toronto, [S.], 19, of Guelph and [A.], 34, also of Guelph were each charged with arson and mischief.

They are being held for a bail hearing.

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Canada police probe third energy facility bombing

November 01, 2008
By Allan Dowd

VANCOUVER, British Columbia (Reuters) – The saboteur who has bombed three natural gas installations in northeast British Columbia is likely a local resident with knowledge about the sites, Canadian police said on Saturday.

Police said the latest attack on a wellhead near the village of Tomslake, British Columbia happened at about midnight on Thursday, but was not discovered until midday on Friday when workers visited the well and heard leaking gas.

It was the third bombing of a natural gas facility in the area in less than a month. All three attacks happened in the middle of the night at facilities at isolated locations. The first two attacks involved pipelines.

“When looking at when and where the attacks occurred it is safe to say that the person or persons responsible knows how to locate the sites and has knowledge of the sites,” Royal Canadian Mounted Police Sgt. Tim Shields said.

“For a person to have this information they would likely have to be from the immediate area or have spent significant time in the area,” Shields said.

There have been no injuries in the attacks, but two caused small leaks. Energy firm EnCana Corp said its crews were still working to stop the leak from the latest incident but there was no danger to the general public.

The attacks are believed linked to a letter sent to media warning the energy industry to leave the area near Tomslake and the neighboring town of Dawson Creek, British Columbia and stop the expansion of “deadly gas wells.”

The facilities attacked were all involved in the production of “sour” natural gas that contains toxic hydrogen sulfide. The toxic substance is removed from the natural gas at an EnCana processing facility near Tomslake.

The hand-written letter did not contain a specific threat, and nobody has claimed responsibility for the explosions.

Police said several people apparently heard the latest explosion, but nobody alerted the police because they apparently believed somebody else had already done so.

Security has been tightened around energy facilities in the area since the first attack, but industry experts say there is so much gas production in the region it would in impossible to keep all the equipment under constant surveillance.

(Reporting Allan Dowd, Editing Alan Elsner)

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Shaw will replace tower destroyed in weekend blaze

Lori Jenks, Comox Valley Echo
Published: Tuesday, October 28, 2008

CUMBERLAND, B.C. — A weekend fire caused up to $2 million in damage and destroyed a Shaw Communications transmission tower, knocking out some cable-TV and Internet services.

RCMP said a door appeared to have been tampered with and there was evidence that an accelerant was used in the building where the fire started, said RCMP spokesman Const. Dennis Flint. But he stopped short of saying the fire was intentionally set.

“Somebody can go in there and start fooling around and start a fire,” Flint said. “That’s not deliberately set, but they shouldn’t be there.”

Shaw CEO Jim Shaw said the company was alerted to the problem Saturday morning by unhappy cable customers who lost some of their channels. The company then sent a technician to the unmanned station.

After negotiating rough logging roads in the Trent River area south of Cumberland, all the technician could do was call the fire department.

Then an explosion in one of the tower’s propane-fuelled generators shortly before fire crews arrived forced them to wait another two hours to ensure there was no danger of more propane tanks exploding and to get hydro lines shut off.

It finally took 10 firefighters to put the fire out. A perimeter was set up to prevent the fire spreading to the forest, said Cumberland fire chief Ken McClure.

“The forest danger is at low right now,” McLure said. “This would have been a lot different if it had been in the middle of August.”

Despite police evidence, Shaw said the fire could have been the result of aging equipment rather than foul play.

“It had been there for some 20 years,” he said. “It was probably due to have a bit of trouble.

“I wouldn’t want to suppose that somebody started it when in fact some of our equipment could have overheated, caught on fire and started the fire ourselves, which can happen pretty easily because there’s a lot of electrical equipment in there.”

Six of the nine cable channels transmitted via the tower were back in service Monday and the rest were expected back by the end of the week. Internet service to Powell River was knocked out but has since been restored.

Shaw said the company is planning to replace the transmission tower. Anyone with information can contact Comox Valley RCMP at [stop snitchin’] or Crime Stoppers at [stop snitchin’].

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