Following the indigenous-led protests at the Standing Rock Indian Reservation against the construction of the Dakota Access pipeline, oil and chemical companies including Koch Industries and Marathon Petroleum have successfully lobbied several state legislatures to making such protests a felony offense. Indiana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Tennessee and Texas passed laws last year criminalizing trespassing near pipelines and other “critical infrastructure.” These laws build upon legislation passed in Oklahoma and other states last year, and similar bills are under consideration in Illinois, Ohio and Pennsylvania. The laws aren’t all the same when it comes to how they treat the offenses, but include sentences of as much as five years and fines of as much as $10,000.
In audio recordings obtained by The Intercept from this year’s Energy & Mineral Law Foundation conference in Washington, D.C., members of the lobbying group American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers which represents clients including Koch Industries and ExxonMobil admitted their efforts to push through the legislation in various states and listed their successes in states with both Republican and Democrat-controlled legislatures.
Dallas Goldtooth, “Keep it in the Ground” organizer for the Indigenous Environmental Network, joins us today to talk about the effect that these measures could have on current and future movements to protest pipeline construction, especially on indigenous lands.