Stop the Pipeline Protestor Bill in Oklahoma

The Oklahoma Legislature is considering a bill (HB 1123) that would make it illegal to exercise our First Amendment free speech rights and protest near energy industry sites -- like along the route of the proposed Diamond Pipeline.

The proposed Diamond Pipeline that would run 440 miles through Oklahoma and Arkansas threatens sacred Native burial grounds, is abusing eminent domain for private gain, and threatens our land, water and climate. Bold Oklahoma and other grassroots groups have already been active locally in organizing rallies and peaceful protests against the pipeline. [1]

Since the historic Native-led resistance at Standing Rock to the Dakota Access pipeline, bills to restrict the rights of peaceful protest have been introduced in 18 states, including North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa, Washington, and now Oklahoma. [2]

"They're looking for clever ways to send chilling effects," Chase Iron Eyes, the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe member and Water Protector who was charged with inciting a riot after a February arrest, told The New York Times. "The state will try to devise ways to squash opposition and chill the will of people who are willing to face risks to their liberty to further their cause." [3]

We urge the Oklahoma Legislature to reject this attack on our First Amendment free speech rights. 

HB 1123 would drastically ratchet up penalties in Oklahoma for actions typically associated with peaceful protests of the fossil fuel industry, like trespassing -- which could now land you six months in jail.

If authorities successfully argue in court that you "meant to" ... "impede or inhibit operations of the facility," you could be facing a year in jail, or $10,000 fine.

INCREASED PENALTIES UNDER HB 1123

  • Trespassing: $1,000 fine or six months in jail.
  • If the trespasser meant to "damage, destroy, vandalize, deface, tamper with equipment, or impede or inhibit operations of the facility," penalities are a $10,000+ fine or one year in jail.
  • If the trespasser succeeds in "damaging, destroying, vandalizing, defacing or tampering with equipment," penalties are a $100,000 fine or up to 10 years in jail.

NO PROTESTS ALLOWED HERE UNDER HB 1123

  • pipeline interconnections
  • above ground piping for oil, gas, hazardous liquid or chemical pipelines
  • crude oil or refined products storage and distribution facilities
  • natural gas storage facility
  • petroleum or alumina refinery
  • electrical power substation or power lines
  • chemical manufacturing facility
  • water treatment facility
  • wastewater treatment plant
  • natural gas compressor station
  • liquid natural gas terminal
  • telecommunications central switching office
  • cell towers or telephone poles
  • railroad tracks
  • gas processing plant
  • radio or television transmission facility
  • steelmaking facility
  • dam that is regulated by the government

Stand with the Water Protectors: Urge the Oklahoma Legislature to oppose HB 1123 and reject this attack on our First Amendment rights. 


REFERENCES:

[1] "Local bill aimed at protesters could hit home for some Oklahoma environmentalists," KFOR.com, 2/28/17.

[2] "Republican lawmakers introduce bills to curb protesting in at least 18 states," The Washington Post, 2/24/17.

[3] "When Does Protest Cross a Line? Some States Aim to Toughen Laws," The New York Times, 2/2/17.



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