A STATUTE AIMED at suppressing protests against oil and gas pipelines has been signed into law in Oklahoma, as a related bill advances through the state legislature. The two bills are part of a nationwide trend in anti-protest laws meant to significantly increase legal penalties for civil disobedience. The Oklahoma law signed this week is unique, however, in its broad targeting of groups “conspiring” with protesters accused of trespassing. It takes aim at environmental organizations Republicans have blamed for anti-pipeline protests that have become costly for local governments.
The statute Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin approved Wednesday was rushed into immediate effect under a provision that declared the situation “an emergency.” It will dramatically increase penalties against protesters who trespass on property containing a “critical infrastructure facility.”