Pipeline Vandalism Is A Crime; Stop Pretending It’s Your Civil Liberty!

natural gas nowTom Shepstone
Shepstone Management Company, Inc.

Pipeline vandalism is both criminal and dangerous but apologists for it want us to believe it’s only protest and their right; that they’re victims. Shame!

The EnviroPolitics blog included a headline yesterday that should infuriate anyone with the slightest respect for the law. “Protest a pipeline in these states and you could face felony charges,” it says as it introduces a totally unbalanced article by one of the wackos from the San Francisco bureau of the looney Guardian, which never saw a trendy leftist cause it didn’t embrace. It’s hard to imagine a more misleading title. I sincerely wonder whether anyone at either publication bothered to read the legislation. If they had they’d understand it’s about pipeline vandalism, not pipeline protest.

pipeline vandalism

Pipeline vandalism by DAPL “protesters” that EnviroPolitics and The Guardian seem to imagine shouldn’t be criminalized.

The Guardian does, at least, include a link to the model legislation that is being adopted by several states to address the sorts of violence that occurred with the Dakota Access Pipeline. Here’s what that legislation actually says in relevant part (emphasos added):

Section 1. {Definitions.}

For purposes of this Act:

A. “Critical Infrastructure” has the same meaning given to it in 42 USC 5195c.

B. “Critical infrastructure facility” means:

1. One of the following, if completely enclosed by a fence or other physical barrier that is obviously designed to exclude intruders, or if clearly marked with a sign or signs that are posted on the property that are reasonably likely to come to the attention of intruders and indicate that entry is forbidden without site authorization:

a. A petroleum or alumina refinery,

b. An electrical power generating facility, substation, switching station, electrical control center or electric power lines and associated equipment infrastructure,

c. A chemical, polymer or rubber manufacturing facility,

d. A water intake structure, water treatment facility, wastewater treatment plant or pump station,

e. A natural gas compressor station,

f. A liquid natural gas terminal or storage facility,

g. Wireline and wireless telecommunications infrastructure,

h. A port, railroad switching yard, railroad tracks, trucking terminal or other freight transportation facility,

i. A gas processing plant, including a plant used in the processing, treatment or fractionation of natural gas or natural gas liquids,

j. A transmission facility used by a federally licensed radio or television station,

k. A steelmaking facility that uses an electric arc furnace to make steel,

l. A facility identified and regulated by the United States Department of Homeland Security Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS) program,

m. A dam that is regulated by the state or federal government,

o. A natural gas distribution utility facility including, but not limited to, pipeline interconnections, a city gate or town border station, metering station, aboveground piping, a regular station and a natural gas storage facility, or

n. A crude oil or refined products storage and distribution facility including, but not limited to, valve sites, pipeline interconnections, pump station, metering station, below or aboveground pipeline or piping and truck loading or offloading facility; or

2. Any aboveground portion of an oil, gas, hazardous liquid or chemical pipeline, tank, railroad facility or other storage facility that is enclosed by a fence, other physical barrier or is clearly marked with signs prohibiting trespassing, that are obviously designed to exclude intruders.

Section 2. {Criminal Penalties.}

A. Any person who shall willfully and knowingly trespass or enter property containing a critical infrastructure facility without permission by the owner of the property or lawful occupant thereof shall, upon conviction, be guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of not less than {dollar figure}, or by imprisonment in the county jail for a term of {length of time}, or by both such fine and imprisonment. If it is determined the intent of the trespasser is to willfully damage, destroy, vandalize, deface, tamper with equipment, or impede or inhibit operations of the facility, the person shall, upon conviction, be guilty of a felony punishable by a fine of not less than {dollar figure}, or by imprisonment in the custody of the {Department of Corrections [or substitute the appropriate State equivalent thereof]} for a term of
{length of time}, or by both such fine and imprisonment.

B. Any person who shall willfully damage, destroy, vandalize, deface or tamper with equipment in a critical infrastructure facility shall, upon conviction, be guilty of a felony punishable by a fine of {dollar figure}, or by imprisonment in the custody of the {Department of Corrections [or substitute the appropriate State equivalent thereof]} for a term or not more than {length of time}, or by both such fine and imprisonment.

C. If any organization is found to be a conspirator with persons who are found to have committed any of the crimes described in subsection A or B of this section, the conspiring organization shall be punished by a fine that is {number} times the amount of said fine authorized by the appropriate provision of this section.

Section 3. {Civil Penalties.}

A. Any person who is arrested for or convicted of trespass may be held liable for any damages to personal or real property while trespassing.

B. Any person or entity that compensates, provides consideration to or remunerates a person for trespassing as described in subsection A of this section may also be held vicariously liable for any damages to personal or real property committed by the person compensated or remunerated for trespassing.

Notice it’s not just about pipelines. It covers all sorts of critical infrastructure. Notice, too, it says nothing about protest. Protesters can assemble on their own property or on public property, although the latter might require a permit as is typical in many jurisdictions. Finally, notice trespassing is only a misdemeanor under the model legislation, not a felony. What is a felony is pipeline vandalism and the like. Those who finance or conspire to engage in pipeline vandalism are also subject to penalty.

What’s wrong with that? Absolutely nothing. The fact EnviroPolitics and the Guardian suppose there is, tells me they don’t see a problem with trespassing on gated private property. They don’t see a problem with pipeline vandalism or “miscasting” (their word) of it as pipeline protest. They don’t see a problem with the likes of Warren Buffett’s money financing pipeline vandalism by extremist groups such as Rising Tide North America, using groups such as the Tides Foundation to launder the money. They seek to enable pipeline vandalism while hiding behind the language of civil liberties having nothing to do with it. Shame on them!

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One thought on “Pipeline Vandalism Is A Crime; Stop Pretending It’s Your Civil Liberty!

  1. I wonder how the folks at EnviroPolitics or the Guardian would feel if some people who strongly disagreed with the views of these periodicals broke into their offices and destroyed or damaged their property, eg computers, newsprint machines etc in the name of “protest”?

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