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

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

Updated July 14, 2019. See Full Report: State Bills to Criminalize Peaceful Protest of Oil & Gas "Critical Infrastructure"

2018 Act 692 (HB 727):

  • Introduced March 26, 2018
  • Signed by Governor on May 30, 2018
  • Effective on Aug. 8, 2018

ICLN analysis:

Targets protests around gas and oil pipelines by expanding the definition of “critical infrastructure” and providing for the offense of "unauthorized entry of a critical infrastructure." Under the law, "critical infrastructure" is amended to include "pipelines," "any site where the construction or improvement of [pipelines or any other listed infrastructure facility] is taking place," as well as "all structures, equipment, or other immovable or movable property located within or upon" such facilities. Unauthorized entry onto critical infrastructure property as defined above is punishable by imprisonment with or without hard labor for up to five years and a fine of $1,000. As originally introduced, the law included a new crime of “conspiracy to engage in unauthorized entry” of a critical infrastructure facility, punishable by imprisonment with or without hard labor for up to five years and a fine of $10,000, such that individuals who only planned to hold a peaceful protest on infrastructure property could be prosecuted. The amended and enacted version of the bill removed the provisions on conspiracy, however. In addition, prior to the law’s enactment, provisions were added to mandate that the law would not apply to "[l]awful assembly and peaceful and orderly petition, picketing, or demonstration for the redress of grievances or to express ideas or views regarding legitimate matters of public interest." 

ALEC legislators:

At least 17 of 64 co-sponsors are confirmed LA ALEC affiliate legislators: Primary sponsor Rep. Major Thibaut, Rep. John Anders (D-21), Rep. Paula Davis (R-69), Rep. John Guinn (R-37), Rep. Chris Hazel (R-27), Rep. Bob Hensgens (R-47), Rep. Frank Hoffman (R-15), Rep. Bernard LaBas (D-38), Rep. Jerome Richard (I-55), Rep. Alan Seabaugh (R-05), Rep. Kirk Talbot (R-78), Sen. Norby Chabert (R-20), Sen. Dale Erdy (R-13), Sen. Neil Riser (R-32), Sen. Francis Thompson (D-34), Sen. Michael Walsworth (R-33), and Sen. Mack White (R-06).

  • Rep. Stuart Bishop is unconfirmed as an ALEC member, but was the primary “author” of an ALEC model bill in 2015.

  • Rep. Julie Emerson is unconfirmed as an ALEC member, but has been featured on ALEC’s website.

  • Rep. George “Greg” Cromer (R-90) was a member of ALEC who announced his departure in 2012; it is unclear if he has since re-joined ALEC.

CSG legislators:

5 of 64 co-sponsors are confirmed participants of events conducted by the Council of State Governments, and CSG’s regional subsidiaries:

  • Rep. John “Andy” Anders, ex-officio member and chair of the Southern Legislative Conference (SLC) Agriculture & Rural Development Committee, 2015.

  • Rep. John “Johnny” Guinn, attended SLC 2009 and 2010 annual meetings

  • Rep. Valerie Hodges, attended SLC event in 2014

  • Sen. Dan Claitor, member of SLC Energy & Environment Committee in 2013

  • Sen. Francis Thompson attended 2004 CSG Leadership Forum, presented to the  SLC Agriculture & Rural Development Committee in 2009,

Oil & Gas Lobbying:

Energy Transfer Equity lobbyist Thomas Williams disclosed expenditures on two legislators in 2017, both of whom co-sponsored HB 727: $43.19 total spent on two occasions with Sen. Norby Chabert, and $8.48 spent on Rep. Beryl Amedee. Williams also disclosed a $168 payment for a cookout party for the Louisiana House of Representatives, in April, 2017.

Williams has represented ETE since 2012, and and he has represented two other ETP subsidiaries: ETC Tiger Pipelines, and Regency Energy Partners.

Oil & Gas Campaign Contributions:

Co-sponsors received $1,082,573 from oil & gas companies and employees

2015 Act 366:

  • Prefiled as HB7 on February 6, 2015
  • Signed by Governor on July 1, 2015
  • Effective on August 1, 2015

Analysis:

Expanded and clarified definitions of criminal activity at critical infrastructure sites, including obtaining access using fraudulent identification. Pipelines were not mentioned specifically.

ALEC legislators:

Sole primary sponsor Rep. Major Thibaut was a confirmed LA ALEC member from 2010-2011

2004 Act 157:

  • Prefiled as HB 561 on March 18, 2004
  • Signed by Governor and effective on June 10, 2004
  • Initially sponsored by Rep. Michael Walsworth.
  • Re-engrossed bill added two co-sponsors: Rep. Kay Katz [now retired] and Rep. Francis Thompson [now a LA state Senator]

Analysis:

Created a maximum fine of $1,000 and maximum imprisonment of five years for trespassing on critical infrastructure sites. Pipelines were not included among examples of critical infrastructure, such as refineries, LNG terminals, natural gas compressor stations, chemical plants, power plants, and water plants.

ALEC legislators:

  • 3 of 3 sponsors were confirmed LA ALEC members as of 2011: Rep. Michael Walsworth, Rep. Kay Katz, and Rep. Francis Thompson. It is unclear if these legislators were affiliated with ALEC in 2004.

CSG legislators and model bill:

Act 157 was basis of CSG model bill “Unauthorized Entry of a Critical Infrastructure." The model bill was included in CSG 2006 Suggested State Legislation Vol. 5, from CSG’s Public Safety and Justice committee.

North Dakota state Rep. Kim Koppelman attended the November 20, 2004 meeting of the SSL committee in Dana Point, CA, when the “Unauthorized Entry of Critical Infrastructure” model bill was approved. Rep. Koppelman was also chair of the CSG Public Safety and Justice committee that was responsible for producing the model bill (CSG Suggested State Legislation 2006, Vol. 5).

LA state Sen. Francis Thompson (at the time, a state Representative) attended a September, 2004 CSG SSL committee meeting as a guest.

CSG’s corporate sponsors from 2004-2006 include Koch Industries, ExxonMobil, Chevron, Shell, BP, Sunoco, Encana, and Williams Companies

A 2003 CSG report on Critical Infrastructure was sponsored by BP, and other companies.

Media Reports & References:

Sharon Kelly, Louisiana Law Turning Pipeline Protests Into Felonies Violates Constitution, New Lawsuit Alleges, DeSmog, May 22, 2019

New Lawsuit Challenges Anti-Protest Trespass Law, Center for Constitutional Rights, May 22, 2019

Naveena Sadasivam, After Standing Rock, protesting pipelines can get you a decade in prison and $100K in fines, Grist, May 14, 2019

Derek Seidman and Gin Armstrong, How to Research the Corporate Forces Behind Pipeline Protest Criminalization, LittleSis, September 27, 2018

Alleen Brown and Will Parrish, Recent Arrests Under New Anti-Protest Law Spotlight Risks that Off-Duty Cops Pose to Pipeline Opponents, The Intercept, August 22, 2018

Alleen Brown and Will Parrish, Louisiana and Minnesota Introduce Anti-Protest Bills Amid Fights over Bayou Bridge and Enbridge Pipelines, The Intercept, March 31, 2018

Alleen Brown, Will Parrish and Alice Speri, Dakota Access-Style Policing Moves to Pennsylvannia's Mariner East 2 Pipeline, The Intercept, June 21, 2017