Opinion: Pipeline Protection Laws Growing Across America

DAPL sign

A sign warning of the buried Dakota Access Pipeline through farmland in South Dakota. (Source: Shutterstock.com)

I’ve been closely following Missouri state Senate Bill SB 293, which is designed to punish offenders who “damage, destroy, vandalize or tamper with equipment in a critical infrastructure facility.” State Sen. Lincoln Hough (R-30th) proposed the bill and told me last week that the bill was passed by the Senate on July 11 and is awaiting the governor’s signature on Aug. 28, when it will become law. He added that the bill was passed with bipartisan support and reconciled with a similar bill in the House, HB3.

There should be little question of the need to protect public infrastructure such as oil and gas pipelines. But when does that need expand into the realm of extreme?

Missouri is among many states looking to enact tough laws to protect pipeline projects in the wake of the calamitous protests that occurred during the construction of Energy Transfer’s Dakota Access pipeline in 2016. As Hough told Hart Energy, “We have had no issues in Missouri to date that threatened critical infrastructure, and to my knowledge, currently most projects in the state are working toward more efficiency and updated technology. But having served as a county commissioner, I could see where damage to any type of critical infrastructure would pose a major impediment to our communities’ way of daily living.”

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