The Daily Caller published an article yesterday highlighting recently enacted legislation that seeks to protect pipelines and other critical infrastructure and its reception by environmental activists. The article specifically discusses legislation in Oklahoma and Louisiana, noting that a number of other states are also considering taking legislative action to further protect energy infrastructure from eco-terrorism and other external threats.
Environmental activists clearly are misunderstanding the point of this recently implemented legislation, as one activist stated “the purpose is to chill lawful dissent.” Other groups have gone so far as to claim this legislation puts a “fundamental element of our democracy in jeopardy.” As the Daily Caller points out, “none of the legislation in question has called for the right to protest on public land to be taken away.” The article goes into detail, writing:
In Louisiana’s bill, for example, legislative language explicitly states that “Lawful assembly and peaceful and orderly petition, picketing, or demonstration for the redress of grievances or to express ideas or views” is not to be prevented. Oklahoma’s bill only pertains to individuals who willfully trespasses or destroy a critical infrastructure facility, but it does include any organization or person found to be conspiring with the crime.
These laws are by no means an infringement on free speech. Rather, they aim to protect critical infrastructure components – including construction sites – from illegal tactics that could result in serious harm to not only protesters, but also construction workers and even nearby residents. And for good reason, as activist groups have continued to escalate protests in Louisiana as the 163-mile Bayou Bridge Pipeline nears completion. Tactics have become increasingly dangerous, risking the safety of hardworking pipeline workers and local law enforcement. The Daily Caller writes:
Activists belonging to L’eau Est La Vie, Louisiana Bucket Brigade and other groups have been arrested for taking part in illegal demonstrations. Such actions have included: trespassing onto private property, chaining themselves to cement-filled barrels that have trapped construction workers, attaching themselves on to pipeline equipment, and outright destruction of property.
Louisianians for Energy thanks the state legislature for recognizing the need to protect our critical energy infrastructure, and we look forward to the safe completion of Bayou Bridge and its contributions to fueling our country’s energy needs.