Eco-terrorist Wiebo Ludwig dies
Wiebo Ludwig. (IAN KUCERAK/QMI AGENCY)
Convicted oilpatch bomber and eco-terrorist Wiebo Ludwig died in his home Monday at the age of 70.
Touted as both an activist and terrorist – depending on who you’re talking to – Ludwig was a well known face in the battle over northern Alberta’s oil and gas industry.
The leader of a Christian fundamentalist community near Hythe, Alta., Ludwig was best known for sabotaging oil and gas wells near his northern Alberta property.
Ludwig died Monday in his home after a year-long battle with esophageal cancer.
Ludwig’s wife Mamie confirmed her husband’s death from the family compound at Trickle Creek, Alta., Monday.
“Yes, I can confirm (he died),” she said. “We’re doing pretty well.”
The family had plenty of time to prepare for Ludwig’s death over the last year and had even constructed his coffin ahead of time.
They released a statement Monday, saying the silver-haired former pastor had died at home surrounded by loved ones.
“We will miss him as one who steadfastly and selflessly upheld the hope of the Gospel of Christ, as a loving husband, father and grandfather,” said the release, which also informed media the family would not be granting interviews.
“He was not a man of small prayers and often spoke of a conviction that all people will participate in that hope.”
Ludwig – a radical with a reputation for drastic measures – led a controversial life.
In the early 90’s, he began raising concerns over sour gas leaks on his property, claiming they had caused the miscarriages by his family members and animal deaths on the farm.
He released a video called Home Sour Home and poured sour crude oil on the lobby carpet of government offices in Grande Prairie, Alta.
In the late 90s the natural gas industry in northwest Alberta saw hundreds of acts of vandalism, many against AEC West – the company operating wells near Trickle Creek.
Mounties eventually charged Ludwig in 1998 for an attack on a Suncor well.
The following year he was investigated in the shooting death of a teenage girl, who was allegedly joy-riding with friends on his property on June 20, 1999.
Karman Willis, 16, was shot in the stomach and later died in hospital, but Ludwig was never charged in the death.
Then, in April 2000, the outspoken Christian was charged in an oilpatch bombing that caused millions of dollars in damage.
He was convicted of five charges and served 18 months in prison.
Though he continued to wreak havoc for Alberta’s oil and gas industry, he managed to go a decade without making major headlines.
But in January 2011, Ludwig was arrested again after a series of bombings on the EnCana pipe in northeastern B.C.
He was later released without charges.
Never one to live conventionally, Ludwig refused to treat his cancer with traditional medicines.
He told the media last October he had no intention of seeking chemotherapy or radiation treatment and instead would explore alternative routes.
1985 -- Wiebo Ludwig, along with another family, erect a compound in Trickle Creek, Alta.
Early '90s -- Ludwig begins raising environmental concerns and property rights issues. He claims that gas leaks have caused miscarriages by his family members and animal deaths.
June 20, 1999 -- Karman Willis, 16 -- one of eight teens allegedly joyriding on Ludwig's property -- is shot and later and dies. Ludwig was investigated, but the case remains unsolved.
Early 2000 -- Ludwig is convicted of five charges related to bombings and other forms of vandalism against oil and gas installations resulting in millions of dollars of damage. He is sentenced to 28 months jail and serves 18.
October 2000 -- Ludwig tries to run for leader of Alberta's Social Credit Party but forced to withdraw.
Jan. 8, 2010 -- Ludwig is arrested as a suspect in six bomb attacks targeting pipelines and wellheads owned and operated by the oil and gas company EnCana near Dawson Creek, B.C.
Jan. 9, 2010 -- Ludwig is released without charges after RCMP search his property.
2011 -- A documentary of his life, dubbed Wiebo's War, by Canadian director David York premieres.
October 2011 -- Ludwig announces that he has esophageal cancer.
April 9, 2012 -- Ludwig dies.