Activists say a bill advancing in the Ohio legislature could criminalize activities such as offering rides, water or medical aid to anti-pipeline protesters.
Even chanting “stop the pipeline” could be construed as encouraging damage to critical infrastructure under the bill’s vague language, critics say.
Trespass, willful destruction of property and various other actions are already crimes under Ohio law. But Ohio Senate Bill 33 calls for heavier penalties for trespass or property damage that might affect “critical infrastructure.” The Ohio Senate passed the bill last spring, and the House Public Utilities Committee reported out a substitute version on Jan. 30.
The broad definition of “critical infrastructure” would cover most oil and natural gas facilities, including many areas relating to pipelines and facilities to handle materials derived from oil and natural gas.Click here to read more.