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Investigators Probe Domestic Terrorism As Attacks Rock Electricity Substations in Oregon and Washington, North Carolina Regains Power

Wikiemdia Visitor7 Substation Reed Oregon

As electricity becomes more critical in the winter, a growing number of reported threats to power infrastructure are being investigated, including attacks on substations in the South and on the West Coast. According to energy companies, at least five electricity substations in Oregon and Washington were attacked in November, even before the gun assaults Saturday in Moore County, North Carolina, knocked out power for days for thousands.

A federal memo revealed the incidents following a planned attack last week in Moore County, North Carolina, that left tens of thousands of people without power for days as seasonal temperatures dropped. In Washington and Oregon, representatives from Puget Sound Energy, the Cowlitz County Public Utilities District, and the Bonneville Power Administration confirmed the attacks occurred in November.

The FBI is now investigating reports of shots fired Wednesday near a power station in Ridgeway, South Carolina, according to a Duke Energy spokesperson. According to Wateree Hydro Station spokesperson Jeff Brooks, no outages or known property damage have been reported.

While no motive or suspect has been identified in the North Carolina attacks, law enforcement sources have revealed that investigators are focusing on two possible threads centered on extremist behavior: content posted by extremists on online forums encouraging attacks on essential infrastructure and recent disruptions of LGBTQ+ events across the country by domestic extremists.

In a bulletin sent to private industry on November 22, the FBI cautioned that there had been threats to electricity infrastructure by those promoting racially or ethnically motivated extremist thought “to create civil disorder and inspire further violence.”

Aside from the incidents this month in South Carolina and North Carolina, where lights were restored on Wednesday, a substation in Clackamas, Oregon, was damaged in a “deliberate physical attack” over the Thanksgiving holiday, according to a Bonneville Power Administration spokesperson. According to a spokesperson for Puget Sound Energy, “two incidents occurred in late November at two different substations” in Washington state. In addition, two Cowlitz County Public Utility District substations in the Woodland area were vandalized in mid-November, according to agency spokesperson Alice Dietz.

In the last two years, anti-government groups have begun to use online forums to rally supporters to attack critical infrastructure, including the power grid. They’ve distributed documents and even instructions outlining vulnerabilities and recommending the use of high-powered rifles. However, whoever attacked the North Carolina substations “knew exactly what they were doing,” Moore County Sheriff Ronnie Fields said.

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