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

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

Updated December 9, 2019. See Full Report: State Bills to Criminalize Peaceful Protest of Oil & Gas "Critical Infrastructure"

2019 IN SB 471:

  • Signed by Governor Eric Holcomb on May 6, 2019
  • Senate approved House amendments on April 1, 2019
  • Passed Senate on Feb. 7, passed House with amendments on Mar. 25, 2019
  • Introduced Jan. 14, 2019

ICNL analysis:

Would heighten the penalties for protests near oil and gas pipelines and other infrastructure by creating the offenses of "criminal infrastructure facility trespass" and "critical infrastructure facility mischief." The bill provides that an individuals who knowingly enters critical infrastructure facility without permission commits critical infrastructure facility trespass, a Level 6 felony punishable by up to 30 months in prison. Under the bill, recklessly or knowingly defacing such a facility constitutes critical infrastructure facility mischief, punishable by up to six years in prison as a Level 5 felony. In either case, the individual may additionally be liable to the property owner for damages, costs, and attorney's fees. An organization found to have conspired with an individual who commits either offense may also be liable for a fine of $100,000. The bill newly defines “critical infrastructure facility” under Indiana law to include a range of oil, gas, electric, water, telecommunications, and railroad facilities, as well as any “facility that is substantially similar” to one of the listed facilities.

ALEC legislators:

At least 2 of 5 co-sponsors are confirmed IN ALEC affiliate legislators: Sen. Michael Crider and Sen. Eric Koch (“cook”)

CSG legislators:

At least 3 of 5 co-sponsors are confirmed CSG affiliates:

Oil & Gas Lobbying:

Lobbying information on specific bills in Indiana is not made public.

The Indiana state arm of the American Petroleum Institute, the Indiana Petroleum Council, thanked Governor Eric Holcomb for signing SB 471 into law. API represents most of the major U.S. oil industry, including:

  • BP
  • Chevron
  • ConocoPhillips
  • Devon Energy
  • Dow Chemical
  • Enbridge
  • ExxonMobil
  • Marathon Petroleum
  • Magellan Midstream
  • Phillips66
  • Shell
  • TransCanada (aka TC Energy)
  • Williams Companies
  • note: neither Energy Transfer nor Koch Industries' subsidiaries are listed as members of the API.

Media Reports & References:

Jennifer A. Dlouhy, Oil Companies Persuade States to Make Pipeline Protests a Felony, Bloomberg, August 19, 2019

Lee Fang, Oil Lobbyist Touts Success in Effort to Criminalize Pipeline Protests, Leaked Recording Shows, The Intercept, August 19, 2019

Susie Cagle, 'Protesters as terrorists': growing number of states turn anti-pipeline activism into a crime, The Guardian, July 8, 2019

Alan Neuhauser, Pipeline Protest Laws Spark First Amendment Concerns, US News & World Report, June 6, 2019

Jacob Shea, States Crack Down on Environmental Activists, Sierra Club, May 20, 2019

Dan Carden, New Indiana law boosts penalties for damaging or defacing 'critical infrastructure', Times of Northwest Indiana, May 18, 2019

Mary Schuermann Kuhlman, Holcomb Urged to Veto Anti-Protest Bill, Public News Service - IN, April 8, 2019

Rebecca Thiele, Penalties For Fossil Fuel Protesters Could Increase Under Proposed Bill, WBOI NPR, March 18, 2019

Andrew Longstreth, Bill to protect infrastructure faces First Amendment concerns, Statehouse File, Franklin College, March 18, 2019

Chris Davis, Proposed Law Would Discourage Free Speech, Says ACLU of Indiana, WIBC, March 15, 2019

Sarah Bowman, This Indiana bill is meant to protect pipelines. Critics say it infringes on free speech., Indianapolis Star, March 10, 2019

Steve Horn, Bills Criminalizing Pipeline Protest Arise in Statehouses Nationwide, The Real News Network, February 22, 2019