Nine months after the last pipeline bombing in northeastern British Columbia, a menacing letter directed at the energy industry and promising a summer of "action" has surfaced with a local newspaper.
The anonymous letter, which was received by the Dawson Creek Daily News on Wednesday and handed over to the RCMP, is directed at EnCana Corp., which has extensive operations in the region and is one of the continent's leading natural gas producers.
"Time-out is over!!" it begins. "The long and 'hot' summer is coming."
Between Oct. 11, 2008, and July 4, 2009, six explosions have been reported around pipeline sites and other natural gas installations in the Dawson Creek region. In some cases, the bombings forced evacuations, but no one has been injured. The letter suggests more attacks are imminent.
"We are growing in strength and now ready for actions at all your installations," it says.
RCMP Sergeant Rob Vermeulen said Thursday that police are taking the letter seriously, even though there's no specific threat or timeline.
"Our investigators are currently trying to determine whether it's authentic or whether it's a hoax. There were … previous letters that have been received by local media, including one which was determined to be a hoax," he said.
Last July, a letter warned EnCana to cease operations within three months or things would get worse. Police stepped up security in the region.
Dawson Creek's Mayor Mike Bernier said as the deadline passed without incident, the community began to relax. But this latest letter - real or fake - has people back on edge.
"I was kind of semi-confident that we had moved on, but regardless there's still some people out there who have some issues and concerns and they're having a hard time expressing them appropriately," he said.
The latest letter, which is typed - previous missives were handwritten - also makes reference to well-known environmental activist Wiebo Ludwig. He was jailed a decade ago for acts of sabotage in connection with well-site violence near Hythe, Alta., just east of the B.C. boundary - the site of the latest string of bombings.
Mr. Ludwig was arrested earlier this year and his sprawling Trickle Creek property was searched, but no charges were laid.
"Every time they harass Wiebo Ludwig it proves their desperation which means they don't know anything," the letter states.
Mr. Ludwig said he's neither surprised by the latest letter nor that his name was invoked. But he said he had nothing to do with it. He said he suspects the letter is authentic, though, adding that industry and the RCMP have acted to provoke people.
"I think there's been some gathering of some people - at the level of sabotage - and that the writer isn't so alone any more," he said.
EnCana is not commenting because the letter is the subject of a criminal investigation.
The letter, which again orders the energy giant to leave, notes that EnCana's $1-million reward for information linked to the case has united people against the Calgary-based company.
"Your dirty money is not going to help you," it says. "…Be prepared for action as we intend to fight back with a range you haven't seen before."
According to documents obtained by CTV's W5 under the Access to Information Act, the Mounties have spent about $4.6-million probing the bombings through an operation dubbed Project Selfish.