July 2019, Vol. 246, No. 7

Global News

Pipeline Opponents Challenge Louisiana Law Targeting Protesters

Environmental groups and demonstrators arrested near Energy Transfer’s Bayou Bridge pipeline in Louisiana have filed a lawsuit challenging a 2018 state law that made trespassing near oil and gas pipelines a criminal offense.

Felony charges that carry sentences of up to five years in prison were brought last year against protesters and a journalist near Bayou Bridge, which was then under construction, according to the lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Louisiana.

Since protests erupted over Dakota Access Pipeline in 2016, 18 states have introduced bills similar to the Louisiana law, according to the non-profit Center for Constitutional Rights.  Trespassing near pipelines previously drew misdemeanor charges in Louisiana.

The new law aims “to chill, and harshly punish, speech and expression in opposition to pipeline projects,” the plaintiffs said in the lawsuit. P&GJ

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