HYTHE — An estimated 60 people, led by environmental activist Wiebo Ludwig, staged a protest Sunday near a sour gas well site in northwestern Alberta.
The well, belonging to Canadian Superior Energy Inc., is located about two kilometres from Ludwig’s Trickle Creek farm near the community of Hythe.
The energy company issued a notice Feb. 11 of a planned test of the well over a period of days, saying that hydrogen sulphide is expected and that emissions would be burned and not flared into the atmosphere.
Ludwig says they smelled traces of the potentially lethal gas and that a number of demonstrators, including some pregnant women and children, had to leave the area.
“We (had) a vehicle standing by with some diving tanks so we had some fresh air,” Ludwig said.
The demonstrators want natural gas exploration in their area stopped because of health and environmental concerns.
Ludwig says the Energy Resources and Conservation Board — Alberta’s energy company regulator — has been reluctant to stop it, despite their pleas.
“There’s some tension there,” Ludwig admitted.
The environmental activist, who has a history of acrimony with the oil and gas industry, said he’s heard the well may not be productive enough to make it worthwhile for the company.
Ludwig was questioned by the RCMP in December in connection with a series of natural gas pipeline bombings in northeastern B.C., but no charges were laid.
The eco-activist has said that he is not involved in the bombings and does not personally know anybody who is.
A decade ago, he served two-thirds of a 28-month jail sentence after being convicted of bombing sour gas wells in Alberta.
Three energy companies have applied for a peace bond that would keep Ludwig, his son Ben and friend Richard Boonstra away from their properties.