State House to Vote on Anti-Protest Bill Sparked by Dakota Access Opposition


Those Native American tribes and the Sierra Club threatening to create a possible encampment protesting construction of a Cushing to Memphis oil pipeline will have a new possible consideration courtesy of the Oklahoma legislature. The encampment would be similar to the one in North Dakota where protesters have fought construction of the Dakota Access pipeline.

It was last month when OK Energy Today report how environmentalists announced their opposition to the Diamond Pipeline, a project of Valero and the Plains All American company of Texas. But House Bill 1123 by Rep. Scott Biggs, R-Chickasha calls for $100,000 in fines and a prison sentence of 10 years for those convicted of such trespassing actions against what he calls “critical infrastructure.”

The bill is in direct response to the lingering protests in North Dakota. The measure won approval this week in the State House Judiciary Committee on Criminal Justice and Corrections.

The full House will consider it next. The bill creates three levels of trespass, whether it’s a protest against an oil pipeline, a railway or even a nuclear power plant. If it’s considered a “critical infrastructure,” then it would fall under the Biggs bill.

The first level of punishment would be a misdemeanor, carrying a $1,000 fine and a six-month jail sentence. The second would involve destruction or damage to equipment and it carries up to $10,000 in fines and one year in prison. The third would be willful destruction and result in  a felony conviction with $100,000 in fines and up to 10 years in prison. Further, organizations involved in such protests and found guilty of the second or third layer could be fined $1 million.