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

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

Updated January 14, 2020. 

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

Ohio 2019 SB 33 

  • House Public Utilities Committee hearing cancelled on December 11, 2019
  • Passed in Senate May 1, 2019
  • Introduced February 12, 2019

ICNL analysis:

Would heighten the penalties for protests near oil and gas pipelines and other infrastructure by expanding the definitions of "criminal trespass" and "criminal mischief." Like SB 250, introduced in the 2017-2018 session, SB 33 provides that entering and remaining on marked or fenced-off property that contains a "critical infrastructure facility" is criminal trespass and a first degree misdemeanor, punishable by up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine. Doing so with the purpose of "tampering with" the facility would constitute aggravated trespass, a third degree felony--punishable by up to ten years in prison and a $20,000 fine. Knowingly, "improperly tampering" with the facility would constitute "criminal mischief," likewise a third degree felony. "Critical infrastructure facility" is expansively defined to encompass oil, gas, electric, water, telecommunications, and railroad facilities among many others. The bill also imposes fines on organizations found guilty of "complicity" in the trespass or mischief offenses, in the amount of ten times the maximum fine that can be imposed on an individual. Ohio law defines "complicity" to include soliciting, procuring, aiding, abetting, or conspiring with another to commit an offense. 

ALEC legislators:

15 of 18 co-sponsors are confirmed OH ALEC affiliate legislators:

  • Primary sponsor Sen. Frank Hoagland
  • Sen. Andrew Brenner
  • Sen. Dave Burke
  • Sen. Bill Coley
  • Sen. John Eklund
  • Sen. Theresa Gavarone
  • Sen. Bob Hackett
  • Sen. Matt Huffman
  • Sen. Rob McColley
  • Sen. Kristina Roegner
  • Sen. Kirk Schuring
  • Sen. Bob Peterson
  • Sen. Lou Terhar
  • Sen. Joe Uecker
  • Sen. Steve Wilson

Oil & Gas Lobbying:

According to the Ohio Joint Legislative Ethics committee lobbying database, the following companies and organizations took positions on SB 33:

  • Alliance for Energy Choice
    • Led by Todd Snitchler at Vorys Advisors who has represented Dynergy, NRG, and Talen Energy. Snitchler was a former Ohio Public Utilities Commission commissioner who participated in ALEC events.
  • Amazon
  • American Chemistry Council (ACC)
    • ACC represents BP Lubricants, ExxonMobil Chemical Co, Chevron-Phillips Chemical Co, and Shell Chemical Co, among other companies. Marathon Petroleum was a member of the ACC until 2018, but Marathon senior vice president Ray Brooks is serving on the ACC Board of Directors from January 1, 2017 through December 31, 2019. 
  • American Electric Power (AEP)
  • American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM)
    • Represents BP, Chevron, Chevron-Phillips Chemical Co, ExxonMobil, Koch Industries (and subsidiary Flint Hills Resources), Marathon Petroleum, Shell, Valero, and dozens of other petrochemical refining companies.
  • American Petroleum Institute (API). 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.
  • Ascent Resources
  • AT&T
  • BP America
  • Caterpillar
  • CenturyLink
  • Charter Communications
  • Columbia Gas of Ohio (NiSource)
  • CSX
  • Dominion Energy
  • Duke Energy
  • Energy Transfer
  • Enbridge
  • ExxonMobil
  • FirstEnergy
  • Gulfport Energy
  • Lightstone Energy (Owns four power plants sold by American Electric Power, owned by Blackstone and ArcLight Capital)
  • Marathon Petroleum
  • Murray Energy
  • Ohio Chamber of Commerce. According to the Ohio Chamber's membership directory, accessed July 22, 2019, its members include: 
  • Ohio Chemistry Technology Council
    • Represents Dow Chemical, DuPont, INEOS, Koch Industries (via subsidiary Georgia-Pacific Chemicals), and Occidental Chemical Co
    • OCTC is the state affiliate of the American Chemistry Council (ACC - see members above)
  • Ohio Coal Association
  • Ohio Electric Utility Institute
  • Ohio Gas Association
    • Represents CenterPoint Energy, Dominion Resrouces, Duke Energy, Enbridge, Energy Transfer Partners, NiSouce (via subsidiary Columbia Gas of Ohio), TransCanada
    • The OGA is a state affiliate of the American Gas Association, which represents Ameren, Berkshire Hathaway Energy (PacifiCorp, MidAmerican, NV Energy), Black Hills Corp, CenterPoint, Cheniere, Chevron-Phillips Chemical Co, Dominion Energy, DTE Energy, Duke Energy, Enbridge, Entergy, EQT, Exelon, Kinder Morgan, MDU Resources, NiSource, PG&E, and dozens of other gas distributors and utility companies.
  • Ohio Independent Poiwer Producers
  • Ohio Municipal Electric Association
  • Ohio Oil & Gas Association
  • Ohio Oil Gathering Corporation
  • Sprint
  • TransCanada
  • U.S. Steel
  • Vectren
  • Verizon

According to emails obtained by Documented using Ohio public records requests, lobbyists representing the following companies scheduled meetings with Sen. Frank Hoagland, to advocate for SB 250 in 2018, below, and for SB 33, in 2019:

  • Andrew Huffman, whose clients in 2019 include Koch Industries, Duke Energy, and the Ohio Coal Association.
     
  • John Keaton with Duke Energy
     
  • Dave Celona, whose clients in 2019 include Duke Energy and the Ohio Gas Association (OGA members are listed below)
     
  • Jeff Dillon and Micah Derry with Americans for Prosperity (founded, controlled and financed by executives of Koch Industries)
     
  • Doug Schrantz with Gulfport Energy and Michael Wise with McDonald Hopkins, on behalf of Gulfport Energy.
     
  • Ohio Petroleum Council / American Petroleum Institute lobbyists "Chris Zeigler and associate directors Claire and Christina" (see source email).
     
    • Rob Eshenbaugh with Capitol Advocates, on behalf of...
      • American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM - see members, above)
      • API Ohio (American Petroleum Institute - see members, above)
      • CSX Transportation
      • Dominion Energy Ohio
      • Duke Energy
      • ExxonMobil (via subsidiary XTO Energy)
      • Marathon Petroleum
      • MarkWest
      • MPLX Energy Logistics (Marathon Petroleum subsidiary)
      • NiSource (via subsidiary Columbia Gas of Ohio)
      • Ohio Chamber of Commerce (see members, above)
      • Ohio Chemistry Technology Council (OCTC)
      • Ohio Coal Association (see members)
      • Ohio Gas Association
         
    • Mark Roberts with Rover Pipeline LLC (owned by Energy Transfer Partners) was referred to Senator Hoagland to speak about a "Rover issue" in emails from 2018. It is unclear if SB 250 was discussed.
       

    OHIO 2018 SB 250:

    • Introduced January 24, 2018
    • Referred to Senate Judiciary committee on Feb. 28, 2018

    ICNL analysis:

    Would heighten the penalties for protests near oil and gas pipelines and other infrastructure by expanding the definitions of "criminal trespass" and "criminal mischief." Entering and remaining on marked or fenced-off property that contains a "critical infrastructure facility" would be criminal trespass under the bill and could be charged as a first degree misdemeanor, punishable by up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine. Doing so with the purpose of tampering with or harming the facility would constitute aggravated trespass, a third degree felony; knowingly tampering with the facility would constitute "criminal mischief" and a first degree felony--punishable by up to ten years in prison and a $20,000 fine. "Critical infrastructure facility" is expansively defined to encompass oil, gas, electric, water, telecommunications, and railroad facilities among many others. The bill also imposes fines on organizations found to be complicit in the trespass or mischief offenses, and imposes civil liability for damage caused by trespass on a critical infrastructure facility.

    ALEC legislators:

    10 of 11 co-sponsors are confirmed OH ALEC affiliate legislators: Primary sponsor Sen. Frank Hoagland, Sen. Kevin Bacon, Sen. Bill Coley, Sen. John Eklund, Sen. Bob Hackett, Sen. Matt Huffman, Sen. Robert McColley, Sen. Bob Peterson, Sen. Lou Terhar, and Sen. Steve Wilson.

    Oil & Gas Campaign Contributions:

    Co-sponsors received $58,725 from oil & gas companies and employees.

    Media Reports & References

    Tanisha Thomas, Ohio Activists Rallying Against Bill To Criminalize Pipeline Protests, WOSU, January 14, 2020

    Tanisha Thomas, Group Rallies Against Bill Limiting Protest Activity at Pipelines, Other Critical Infrastructure , WKSU, January 13, 2020

    Mary Kuhlman, Ohio House Mulls Bill Critics Say Will Chill Environmental, Other Protests, Ohio News Service: CityBeat Cincinnatti & Cleveland Scene, December 11, 2019

    Don Weiner, ALEC Influence in Ohio Greases Skids for Anti-Protest Bill, PR Watch, crossposted in TruthOut and Nation of Change, Center for Media & Democracy, December 10, 2019

    Ann Fisher, Protesting Infrastructure, WOSU, November 4, 2019

    Editorial board: Ohio pipeline protest bill threatens to shut down free speech, Columbus Dispatch, October 19, 2019

    Theodore Decker: Editorial column: Pipeline protection bill stomps on civil rights, Columbus Dispatch, October 5, 2019

    Marty Schladen, Critics say ‘critical infrastructure’ bill meant to stifle protest, Columbus Dispatch / Akron Beacon Journal, October 4, 2019

    Daniel Sawmiler, What Will Protect Ohio’s Critical Infrastructure?, Natural Resources Defense Council, September 30, 2019

    Editorial, Senate Bill 33 labeling some types of trespass a felony threatens Ohioans’ rights, Cleveland Plain Dealer, May 12, 2019

    Editorial, Senate Bill 250 limiting free-speech rights in Ohio is unneeded and pernicious, Cleveland Plain Dealer, December 2, 2018

    Alleen Brown, Ohio and Iowa are the Latest of Eight States to Consider Anti-Protest Bills Aimed at Pipeline Opponents, The Intercept, February 2, 2018

    Water is Life Movement: Rover Pipeline

    Range Resources signed up to be a foundation shipper on the Rover pipeline soon after ETP announced the project.

    Water is Life Movement: Utica-Marcellus Pipeline

    Water is Life Movement: Nexus Pipeline