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Ludwig vows to contest peace bond Add to ...

Wiebo Ludwig is vowing to fight a legal request to brand him as a threat to the employees of three oil companies working in northern Alberta.

On Friday, RCMP arrived at Mr. Ludwig's Trickle Creek compound near Hythe, Alta., to serve the bearded preacher and two other men with summonses to appear at a peace-bond application tomorrow

If approved by a judge, the peace bond would oblige Mr. Ludwig, Richard Boonstra and Ben Ludwig to maintain peaceful relations with EnCana, Canadian Superior Energy and Seaview Energy Inc. for a year.

"The police conducted an investigation and are acting on behalf of these corporations," said Alberta RCMP spokeswoman Corporal Carol McKinley. "Information shows that the corporations fear these individuals."

The rationale behind those fears won't be released until the bond hearing

Mr. Ludwig said yesterday he was planning to fight fire with fire.

"My lawyer has asked for that to be moved up so that we can make a cross bond," he said yesterday, speaking from his compound. "If they think we are potentially capable of endangering their employees or their installations, then we are saying we have a whole record, a litany, of how EnCana and other oil companies have endangered us, and actually done serious damage over the years."

Mr. Ludwig and the 50 or so followers living at Trickle Creek - roughly 440 kilometres northwest of Edmonton - have been fighting oil-and-gas developments in the region for 15 years, blaming gas pipelines and sour-gas leaks for asthma, cancer and miscarriages.

In 2001, he was convicted on five counts of vandalism to local gas facilities. He was also investigated in the 1999 shooting death of Karman Willis, who was killed while joyriding on Mr. Ludwig's property.

For much of the past decade, Mr. Ludwig ditched his high-profile activism, focusing instead on the Christian commune he established in 1985.

But last month, the subversive icon was thrust back into the spotlight after the RCMP arrested him in connection with a half-dozen bombings of gas installations just across the B.C. border. He was soon released without charges.

The peace-bond application stems from fears about Mr. Ludwig's activities in Alberta rather than B.C., according to Cpl. McKinley.

In a November letter to the Energy Resources Conservation Board, Mr. Ludwig's son, Joshua, objected to a plan by Canadian Superior Energy Inc. to sink a natural-gas well near the Trickle Creek farm.

"Given the close proximity of the planned drilling, we also question why this development is already taking place without our knowledge and consultation, especially considering the publicly known tragedies and resulting conflict we have experienced with oil and gas developments around us," the letter reads.

According to the letter, the gas well would be little more than three kilometres from the nearest residence at Trickle Creek. The letter raises concerns that emissions could endanger fetuses of pregnant women living on the farm.

"We have had these experiences here unfortunately," the letter reads. "So please don't try to play with us on this one, your regulations notwithstanding."

 

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