Thieves stole computer, files but left cash, Peace River activist says by Sheila Pratt, August 7, 2014, Edmonton Journal
Longtime Peace River farmer Carmen Langer has spent years battling oil companies to try to clean up emissions that forced many families to move away.
Langer was devastated last weekend when thieves broke into his house and stole his computer and memory sticks containing files and correspondence with oil companies, the provincial energy regulator and local MLAs spanning more than a decade.
“I was pretty shaken. This is serious, but no one wants to take it seriously,” the outspoken Langer said in a telephone interview.
His video camera also disappeared, along with special diaries in which he chronicled dealings with oil companies, said Langer.
Nothing else was taken from the house; the thieves even passed up cash, he added.
The Peace River area, in the midst of an oil boom, has been the centre of a controversy over powerful, smelly emissions arising from heated, aboveground bitumen storage tanks operated by Baytex, Husky and a few other companies.
Langer spoke at a public hearing by the Alberta Energy Regulator last winter on the subject of emissions that forced nearby residents to leave their homes after suffering headaches, nausea, cognitive problems and other health effects.
After the hearing, the AER gave oil companies until Aug. 15 to install pollution control equipment on their bitumen tanks to prevent emissions.
They are also required to stop the practice of flaring or burning off excess natural gas that comes up with the bitumen in the unusual production method called CHOPS — cold heavy oil production with sand.
Langer said he was working in his fields Saturday afternoon when thieves came into the house and took the computer and documents off his work table.
Langer’s extended family has farmed in the region for more than 60 years. But after this incident, he said he’s uneasy staying home and wonders if someone is trying to get him to leave his farm.
Over the years, he has made repeated calls to the AER local office when smelly emissions — known local as “gassing” — forced him out of his house.
Langer also had to get rid of his cattle recently after they also became sick.
“I have to figure out what I’m going to do. It takes a lot to shake me up,” said Langer. “The problem is the provincial government doesn’t think you are important to them.”
Peace River RCMP are investigating the theft.
Carmen Langer’s uncle, Otto Langer, spent 30 years in the federal environment department and still owns land in the same area, near Three Creeks south of Peace River.
“Being an activist is an uncomfortable position,” said Otto, who is visiting Edmonton.
He said his nephew is “courageous,” taking on a fight that many others would not.
Otto Langer, who left Environment Canada in 2000 and for a few years joined the David Suzuki Foundation, said he also receives threatening phone calls for his activism. [Emphasis added]
[Refer also to:
Toxic pollution, odors caused by Baytex heavy oil operations in the Peace River area need to be eliminated says AER; Two-tiered AER? What about the AER saying nothing about Encana fracturing Rosebud’s drinking water aquifers? What about the AER violating Ernst’s Charter Rights, while covering up Encana’s unlawfulness?
February 2014: Big Oil, Bad Air: Where has the College been all these years? Why not SUPPORT ALL ALBERTA DOCTORS treating citizens and workers poisoned by oil and gas? Alberta College of Physicians and Surgeons tells Peace River doctors it will support them in face of intimidation