Across the US, trespassing laws are being changed to make it a felony to trespass on ‘critical infrastructure’ and making fossil fuel facilities, including pipeline routes where there is no infrastructure yet ‘critical infrastructure.’ The new laws have passed or are being considered in at least 15 states across the country.
Penalties could include 10 years in prison and $100,000 in fines. Those who do not trespass themselves but who support activists who do, can also be liable under the law.
Laws further criminalizing pipeline protests have passed in Louisiana, Oklahoma, North Dakota, South Dakota, Texas, Indiana and Iowa.
For many environmental and free speech activists, these new laws are further proof of the government’s allegiance to the fossil fuel industry—as if anyone needed more proof. The government believes threats of jail time and high fines will discourage activists from taking action or voicing critical opinions of pipeline development.