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EnCana reward doubled, extended to employees

EnCana gas and oil company doubled the reward yesterday to find the person or group responsible for the six bombings of pipeline infrastructure around Dawson Creek. The reward being offered is now $1 million in cash and EnCana extended the offer to company employees and contractors

But the mayor of the village closest to the two most recent blasts earlier this month, is showing limited optimism.

“If a guy wouldn’t give up his knowledge for half a million, would he do it for a million?” said Lyman Clark, Mayor of Pouce Coupe. “As a history student, I know how the Robin Hood types were seen as great heroes.”

The inclusion of EnCana employees as potential recipients of the reward money could prove to be the more crucial factor, though, he said, as the sixth blast took place less than a kilometer from the security-saturated site of the fifth bombing, and local speculation has tended towards the possibility of an employee being involved in the bombings.

“We want to remove any barrier that would prevent someone with crime-solving information from coming forward,” said said EnCana executive vice-president Mike Graham in a press release.

The terms of the reward still indicate the $1 million could be divided between numerous individuals who submit tips that “significantly advance the investigation of the RCMP,” the press release stated.

The six blasts have occurred at three pipeline locations, two wellheads, and a metering shed. No one has been hurt so far. A second threatening handwritten letter, written by a person police are presuming is connected to the group or individual behind the bombings, was received by the Dawson Creek Daily News on July 15.

The letter gave EnCana three months to roll out a public commitment towards green energy alternatives and cease operations in the Dawson Creek area. It imposed a five-year deadline for a total withdrawal of all company infrastructure, with a warning for the company to comply or face consequences.

“Don't press the issue in your pride and greed and force worse things to happen,” the letter warned.

The bombings are a first for EnCana, the largest natural gas company in North America and the biggest player in the Montney shale that feeds gas production in the South Peace. But similar incidents of vandalism were faced in the Alberta Peace region by its precursor, the Alberta Energy Corporation (AEC), who merged with PanCanadian Energy to form EnCana in 2002.

In that case, it took the RCMP several years before convicting Wiebo Ludwig on vandalism charges. Ludwig was released from jail in 2001, but police are not drawing any links between him and the bombings.

The RCMP are currently drawing blueprints blueprints for a satellite detachment to be established in Tomslake--the community nearest to the first four pipeline bombings--by early fall. Four full-time officers are slated to be stationed there.

Greg Amos reports for The Tyee

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