, , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

From the Sierra Club:
Trump Administration Releases Proposal to Suppress Opposition to Dangerous Pipelines, Intimidate Peaceful Protesters
Monday, June 3, 2019
Contact: Gabby Brown, gabby.brown@sierraclub.org
Washington, DC — The Trump administration’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) released a new proposal [1] today seeking to criminalize public protest of fossil fuel pipelines at the federal level. Federal laws are already in place to penalize physically damaging existing pipelines, and today’s proposal would dramatically expand the scope of activities punishable by federal law to include “tampering with, or impeding, disrupting or inhibiting the operation of” existing pipelines or those under construction.

This proposal is part of an ongoing effort by the Trump administration to ease the buildout of pipelines [2] and other fossil fuel infrastructure. At the same time, PHMSA has engaged in an unprecedented lack of enforcement [3] of pipeline violations, explosions, and other incidents.

In response, Sierra Club Beyond Dirty Fuels Campaign Director Kelly Martin released the following statement:

“This dangerous proposal threatens to undermine Americans’ right to peaceful assembly and free speech. It is a blatant attempt to intimidate those who would exercise their First Amendment rights to speak out against pipeline projects that put our clean water, communities, and climate at risk. Rather than focusing on shielding corporate polluters from public protest, the administration should be working to ensure that communities are protected from dirty, dangerous fossil fuel projects.”

[1] https://www.phmsa.dot.gov/sites/phmsa.dot.gov/files/docs/news/71476/2019-pipeline-safety-reauthorization.pdf
[2] https://www.nytimes.com/2019/04/10/business/energy-environment/trump-oil-gas-pipelines.html
[3] https://www.desmogblog.com/2018/11/17/report-phmsa-90-pipeline-blasts-draw-no-financial-penalties
About the Sierra Club
The Sierra Club is America’s largest and most influential grassroots environmental organization, with more than 3.5 million members and supporters. In addition to protecting every person’s right to get outdoors and access the healing power of nature, the Sierra Club works to promote clean energy, safeguard the health of our communities, protect wildlife, and preserve our remaining wild places through grassroots activism, public education, lobbying, and legal action. For more information, visit www.sierraclub.org.
©[2019] Sierra Club. All Rights Reserved

Press release is apparently referring to this section:
This provision would strengthen the existing criminal penalty measures for damaging or destroying a pipeline facility. It would specify that vandalism, tampering with, or impeding, disrupting, or inhibiting the operation of a pipeline facility are punishable by criminal fines and imprisonment. It would also specify that pipeline facilities under construction are included within the scope of the damage prohibitions in addition to operational pipeline facilities
“. https://www.phmsa.dot.gov/sites/phmsa.dot.gov/files/docs/news/71476/2019-pipeline-safety-reauthorization.pdf