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Texas Toughens Laws Against Oil Protesters - Should More States?

Do you support toughening laws against oil protesters?

by Countable | 5.22.19

What’s the story?

  • Pipeline protesters in Texas may face up to ten years in prison after the state Senate passed legislation that makes interference with pipelines and other oil and gas infrastructure a third-degree felony.
  • This legislation is similar to the South Dakota bills to discourage potential protests against the Keystone XL Pipeline. 

What are people saying?

Supporters

  • House Bill 3557 was introduced by state Rep. Chris Paddie (R-Marshall), who said the bill does not affect those who engage in peaceful protest for any reason.
“It attaches liability to those who potentially damage or destroy critical infrastructure facilities.”
  • State Senate sponsor Brian Birdwell (R-Granbury) said current law provides inadequate criminal penalties for protesters who damage property.
“This bill does not impact an entity or group of people’s ability to protest peacefully, what it does do is create a deterrent that says if you act upon those interests, or act upon them detrimental to that critical infrastructure, the consequences are appropriate to the nature of that infrastructure,” Birdwell said.

Critics

“It’s an anti-protest bill, favoring the fossil fuel industry, favoring corporations over people.”
  • “It’s a pity that policymakers are continuing to protect the dirty fossil fuel industry and there are higher fines for chaining yourself to a fence than a company gets for poisoning the water with benzene,” said Jennifer Falcon, campaign manager for the Society of Native Nations. Falcon continued, calling the legislation “a fear tactic to dissuade environmental justice movements.”

What do you think?

Do you support toughening laws against oil protesters? Why or why not? Take action above and tell your reps, then share your thoughts below.

—Veronica You

(Photo Credit: Creative Commons)

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