ALABAMA - Oil & Gas "Critical Infrastructure" Anti-Protest Bills

  • Posted on: 18 July 2019
  • By: Connor Gibson

Updated May 8, 2020.

See Full Report: State Bills to Criminalize Peaceful Protest of Oil & Gas "Critical Infrastructure"

2020 SB 45

  • Introduced and read in House on May 4, 2020 - many legislators are absent, due to COVID-19
  • Amended and passed by Senate on March 12, 2020
  • Introduced and referred to Transportation and Energy committee on February 4, 2020
  • Direct link to SB 45 via Alabama legislature

ICNL Analysis:

Would amend existing state law to create new criminal penalties for conduct that may occur in the course of peaceful protests near oil or gas pipelines and other infrastructure facilities. Alabama already criminalizes trespass onto “critical infrastructure,” pursuant to law passed in 2016. The bill would expand the law's definition of “critical infrastructure” to include "pipelines," such that a person who trespasses onto pipeline property could be charged with a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by one year in jail and a $6,000 fine. The bill would also create a new felony offense for any person who "injures," "interrupts or interferes with" critical infrastructure while trespassing. Such an act would be a Class C felony, punishable by up to 10 years in prison and $15,000.

ALEC Legislators:

Campaign Finance: 

Sen. Cam Ward has received $40,272 from oil, gas, utility and railroad companies.

(Note: the data llnked above includes payments from the Alabama Home Builder's Association. For relevance, those contributions are excluded from the $40,272 sum, above).

2020 HB 36

2016 HB 77

  • Died in committee
  • Introduced and read for first time on February 2, 2012 
  • Full text here - some links are broken on Alabama legislature website

ALEC Legislators:

CSG Legislators:

  • Sole sponsor Chris Pringle is not a confirmed member of the Council of State Governments.

Media Reports and References:

2020:

Alexander C. Kaufman, Yet Another State Quietly Moves To Criminalize Fossil Fuel Protests Amid Coronavirus, HuffPost, May 8, 2020

Kyle Whitmire, Drones help police pollution in Alabama. Lawmakers want to make that a crime. AL.com, March 1, 2020

Ward and Brown announce legislation to protect critical infrastructure, Opelika Observer, January 23, 2020

AL State Senator Cam Ward, Critical Infrastructure Legislation Introduced, Cam Ward: State Senate District 14, February 2, 2020

2016:

AL State Senator Cam Ward, Senate Bill Protects Critical Infrastructure Sites, Increases Penalty for Criminal Trespassing, Cam Ward: State Senate District 14, March 10, 2016

Industry: