Governor Gets Bill To Punish Violent Pipeline Protests

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem’s legislative package, aimed at preventing the kind of violent pipeline protests that delayed and raised the costs of the Dakota Access pipeline in North Dakota, passed the Senate and House on March 7, in a whirlwind of action less than72 hours after it was introduced.

The package consisted of two bills. One bill, Senate Bill 189 allows the state, on its own or in conjunction with interested third parties, to sue protesters for up to triple any damage they cause during a pipeline’s construction, including any additional costs to law enforcement to oversee protests and ensure they are non-violent and don’t damage private property or encroach on property owners rights. The second bill, Senate Bill 190, creates a Pipeline Engagement Activity Coordination Expenses fund to pay for extraordinary costs stemming from protest activities until or unless they can be recovered from parties held responsible for harm in lawsuits.

Proactive On Pipelines

Legislators said the bills were offered to protect against the kinds of law enforcement and clean-up costs North Dakota’s state and county government’s incurred as a result of the 2016 protest against the Dakota Access Pipeline. For instance, after the Dakota Access protests ended, North Dakota’s Department of Emergency Services alone spent more than $1 million to remove 48 million tons of trash, abandoned vehicles and trailers, discarded propane tanks, and human waste from encampments that served as staging areas for environmental activists’ sometimes-violent protests of the pipeline.

Read the full article at The Heartland Institute.