Frac threat charges laid
Tuesday, Mar 27, 2012 06:00 am
An Eagle Valley woman charged last week with two counts of uttering threats was the same woman pictured on the cover of last week’s Gazette, wearing a pink T-shirt with the words “FRACK OFF CANCER.”
The photo was taken in the Mountain View County council chamber during Div. 6 Coun. Paddy Munro’s 90-minute presentation on hydraulic fracturing on Wednesday, March 14, one day before the alleged incident.
Last Thursday, Sundre RCMP charged Kim Mildenstein, 39, with two counts of uttering threats after investigating an Energy and Resources Conservation Board (ERCB) complaint about a faxed Objection To An Energy Resources Project form it received March 15.
The document writer raised an unresolved concern with NAL Energy regarding a fracking and flaring project at 13-30-33-04-W5 in Mountain View County, a few miles north east of Sundre in the Eagle Valley area.
“If you frack I will blow up your well and shoot bullets at your crew NAL. You are at risk. You are placing employees at risk,” a portion of the signed document states.
The form is alleged to have been filled out and submitted to the ERCB’s Calgary office by one of the two Mountain View County people Sundre RCMP arrested March 15 in connection with the investigation.
Both people, who live near the wellsite, were released from police custody the same day as their arrest with undertakings to have no contact with the company or its employees and to not possess any firearms or explosives.
Mildenstein is the only person who has been charged in the case and continues to be under the conditions of her release.
“No other charges are being contemplated at this time,” said Sundre RCMP Percy Leipnitz.
She is scheduled to appear in Didsbury Provincial Court on April 23.
Depending on whether the charges are treated as summary or indictable offences, uttering threats can carry a penalty of a fine or up to a maximum of five years in jail.
In November, the Gazette ran a story on Mildenstein’s efforts to spur the county and oil and gas companies to take prompt action to remedy ongoing traffic concerns in Eagle Valley.
Mildenstein presented a list of requests and a litany of concerns when she met with county officials and ERCB representatives at the offices of the Sundre Petroleum Operators Group in Sundre on Oct. 31. She said residents had been put at risk by excessive speeds, dangerous driving and the inordinate volume of traffic resulting from high oil and gas activity in the area.
“One truck per minute per hour – that’s what our neighbour calculated,” Mildenstein said. “That was for four months straight, day and night. You can imagine how hard it was to sleep with the jake brakes going into the valley.”
Mildenstein said she filed at least 10 objections through the ERCB website after school buses returned to the roads last fall, and traffic had decreased since then. Her presentation also called for the ERCB to follow its directives on flaring and incineration and for companies to require drivers to post phone numbers on their vehicles and show respect to area residents.
Many of her points were identical or similar to those raised by residents in early September at a public meeting in Eagle Hill.
Last week, SPOG executive director Tracey McCrimmon said Mildenstein had attended a SPOG stakeholders’ meeting on the Monday prior to Munro’s presentation.
“She had the same shirt on at the meeting and sat at a table and was very respectful,” McCrimmon said. “She engaged some industry folks in some great discussion.”
McCrimmon said she saw Mildenstein at the Wednesday council meeting “and talked to her briefly afterward.”
ERCB spokesperson Bob Curan said the ERCB rarely receives correspondence it perceives to be threatening.
The document writer raised concerns over water contamination from fracking.
The document says: “Mountain View County does not approve the use of potable water by NAL Energy for frack operations. Eagle Valley does not permit you to frack this location until BTX water testing (Baseline) has been conducted prior to your frack and flare job. All cattle water wells, house tap water needs to be BTX sampled 1st. Without baseline water testing the neighbours surrounding this site you will be sued. Concern is Water Aquifer Contamination - you are liable for any water contamination,” the letter reads. If you frack I will blow up your well and shoot bullets at your crew NAL. You are at RISK. You are placing employees at risk.”
The document writer then wrote: “Request FRACK FLUID LIST faxed to my home. (STOP CANCER)” and it was signed by one of two people listed as the contacts on the form.