WISCONSIN Oil & Gas "Critical Infrastructure" Anti-protest Bills

  • Posted on: 10 September 2019
  • By: Connor Gibson

Updated December 9, 2019.

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

    2019 AB 426

    • Signed by Governor Tony Evers on November 20, 2019
    • Passed in Senate on November 5, 2019
    • Passed in House on October 10, 2019, referred to Senate
    • Passed 13-0 in House Energy & Utilities Committee hearing on October 2, 2019
    • Public hearing in House Energy & Utilities Committee held on September 26, 2019 (video).
    • Introduced on September 12, 2019, as a concurrent bill to SB 386 (below)

    ICNL Analysis:

    Would create new potential penalties for protests near oil and gas pipelines and other property of "energy providers." The bill expands existing law related to trespass and property damage to broadly include the property of all companies in the oil and gas industry. Under the bill, trespass onto the property of any “company that operates a gas, oil, petroleum, refined petroleum product, renewable fuel, water, or chemical generation, storage, transportation, or delivery system" would be a Class H felony, punishable by six years in prison and a fine of $10,000. Accordingly, protests in a range of locations could be covered, whether on land containing a pipeline or the corporate headquarters of an oil company. Any damage to property of such a company, with the intent to "cause substantial interruption or impairment of any service or good" provided by the company, would likewise be a Class H felony under the bill. [This analysis is of the concurrent bill SB 386, below]

    2019 SB 386

    • Amendments added in Senate Judiciary and Public Safety Committee hearing on October 22, 2019.
    • Concurrent with AB 462 (see below), with identical co-sponsors, which passed the House on October 10, 2019
    • Introduced on September 5, 2019, referred to Judiciary and Public Safety Committee

    ALEC legislators:

    • 5 of 16 co-sponsors are confirmed ALEC WI affiliates: Sen. Van H. Wanggaard (R-21), Sen. Steve Nass (R-11), Rep. Mike Kuglitsch (R-84), Rep. Ken Skowronski (R-82), and Rep. Ron Tusler (R-3).

    CSG legislators:

    Industry lobbying:

    Lobbying records disclosed by the Wisconsin Ethics Commission, along with public records obtained by Documented, show that several trade associations representing oil, gas, chemical and other companies are advocating for SB 386:

    • American Petroleum Institute
      • Represents most of the U.S. oil industry, including BP, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, Devon Energy, Dow Chemical, Enbridge, ExxonMobil, Marathon Petroleum, Magellan Midstream, Phillips66, Shell, TransCanada (aka TC Energy), and Williams Companies.
      • API was retained by lobbyist Marcus Bently of Bently Government Affairs.
      • Bentley was scheduled to meet with state Senator Janet Bewley, or her staff, on June 13, 2019.
      • Bentley was scheduled to meet with state Representative Shae Sortwell (R-12), or his staff, on September 18, 2019 at 1PM.
      • Bently was communicating with staff of state Representative Mike Kuglitsch in May 2018, as reported by the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD).
      • API lobbyist Erin Roth testified in favor of the bill before the Assembly Energy & Utilities Committee on Sept. 26, 2019 (video)
    • American Chemistry Council
      • The ACC Represents BP Lubricants, Chevron-Phillips Chemical Co, ExxonMobil Chemical Company, Dow Chemical, DuPont, Huntsman, Occidental Chemical Corp, Marathon Petroleum, Saudi Aramco (Motiva), Shell Chemical Co. Marathon Petroleum was listed 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. 
    • BNSF Railway
    • Wisconsin Industrial Energy Group
      • Members include Enbridge and Koch Industries subsidiary Georgia-Pacific
    • Wisconsin Paper Council
      • Members include Koch Industries subsidiary Georgia-Pacific
    • Wisconsin Utilities Association
      • Members include Allete, Alliant Energy, Dominion Resources, WE Energies, and Xcel.

    Koch Industries lobbyist Jeff Schoepke and American Petroleum Institute lobbyist Erin Roth received an email from API lobbyist Marcus Bently (see above) with messaging guidance that broadly scapegoats environmental activists for "attacks" and "damage" to pipeline infrastructure. Andrew Cook of Hamilton Consulting, which represents Koch Industries, Koch subsidiary Flint Hills Resources, and Xcel Energy, was also copied on the email, along with two lobbyists for Arena Strategy. (This was first reported by the Center for Media & Democracy.)

    Union lobbying:

    Joining lobbyist Marcus Bently and the American Petroleum Institute, legislators with the American Legislative Exchange Council, and other industry groups named above, the following trade unions have asked Wisconsin legislators to support SB 386:

    • Construction Business Group
    • International Union of Operating Engineers, Local 139
    • Mechanical Contractors Association of Wisconsin
    • Plumbing and Mechanical Contractors of Milwaukee and Southeastern Wisconsin
    • Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Contractors' Association of Milwaukee
    • Wisconsin AFL-CIO
    • Wisconsin Building Trades Council
    • Wisconsin Pipe Trades
    • Wisconsin Laborer's District Council
    • Wisconsin Transportation Builders Association

    Confrontation of co-sponsor Sen. Jan Bewley (D-25) by Indigenous Community Groups:

    At a Price City community hearing, attorney Philomena Kebec (a member of the Anishinaabe group of indigenous communities, with Great Lakes Indian Fish & Wildlife Commission) and activist Nick Vander Puy pressed co-sponsor Sen. Jan Bewley to explain her support for felony laws against nonviolent trespassers. This is a five-part video, all clips can be found here.

    Media Reports and References:

    Coalition website: Stop Wisconsin’s Felony Trespass Bill

    Joseph Bullington, First Amendment Loses as Pipeline Industry Scores Another Win in Wisconsin, In These Times, December 5, 2019

    Jacob Crosse, Wisconsin’s Democratic governor signs oil lobby-backed bill criminalising free speech, World Socialist Web Site, November 26, 2019

    Peter Castagno, Wisconsin’s Democratic Governor Criminalizes Pipeline Protests, Citizen Truth, November 25, 2019

    Wisconsin Governor Signs Bill Criminalizing Pipeline Protesters, Democracy Now, November 22, 2019

    David Armiak, Wisconsin Governor Evers Signs ALEC-Inspired Bill to Criminalize Protest, Center for Media and Democracy & The Progressive, November 22, 2019

    Evers Signs Felony Trespass Bill into Law, Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, November 21, 2019

    Allen Ruff, Open Line with Allen Ruff, A Public Affair, WORT 89.9 FM Madison, Novemer 21, 2019

    Erik Gunn, Evers signs pipeline protest bill over critics’ objections, Wisconsin Examiner, November 20, 2019

    Chris Ott, ACLU of Wisconsin Statement on Governor Evers Signing Anti-Protest Bill Into Law, American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Wisconsin, November 20, 2019

    Scott Bauer, Evers signs bill making it a felony to trespass on pipelines, Associated Press, November 20, 2019

    WSAU 550AM, South Dakota judge's injunction could impact Wisconsin's pipeline trespassing bill, November 19, 2019

    Letter: National Civil Liberties, Labor, Environmental Groups. Letter to Gov. Evers requesting veto of AB-426/SB-386, as posted on the Wheeler Report (archive), November 19, 2019

    Sue Udry, A Deeply Undemocratic Bill Sits on Wisconsin Governor Evers Desk. He Should Veto It. Protect Rights & Dissent, Novemeber 19, 2019

    Erik Gunn, Pipeline bill’s backers, critics both lobby Evers as signing deadline nears, Wisconsin Examiner, November 18, 2019

    Martin Rakacolli, Wisconsin Tribe Asks Evers to Veto Felony Protest Bill, WORT 89.9 FM Madison, November 14, 2019

    Naveena Sadasivam, This pipeline cuts across a reservation. Wisconsin might make tribal members felons for protesting it., Grist / Mother Jones, November 13, 2019

    Chris Ott (ACLU), 'Critical Infrastructure' Bill Is a Major Threat to Freedom of Speech, Shepherd Express, November 12, 2019

    David Armiak, Anti-Protest Bill Heads to Wisconsin Gov. Evers, Center for Media & Democracy, November 6, 2019

    Erik Gunn, Pipeline protest bill now goes to Evers, Wisconsin Examiner, November 6, 2019

    Felony Trespass Bill Goes to Governor, Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, November 6, 2019

    Patrick Marley and Molly Beck, Republican lawmakers plan to try to override Gov. Tony Evers' vetoes -- and prevent future ones, Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, November 5, 2019

    Erik Gunn, Committee passes pipeline protest bill with only one Democrat voting no, Wisconsin Examiner, October 30, 2019

    Mitchell Schmidt, Senate committee gives nod to bipartisan felony trespassing bill, Wisconsin State Journal, October 30, 2019

    Laura Pavin, State Capitol Report: Bill Imposes Penalties On Pipeline Transgressions, Wisconsin Public Radio, October 28, 2019

    John Nichols, It’s just wrong to help corporations penalize dissent, Madison Cap-Times, October 27, 2019

    Mitchell Schmidt, Supporters of pipeline trespassing bill say it protects lawful protest, despite concerns by environmental groups, Wisconsin State Journal, October 23, 2019

    Erik Gunn, Pipeline protest bill opponents hope for veto: Environmentalists and tribes criticize Dems, appeal to Evers, Wisconsin Examiner, October 23, 2019

    Shaun Soman, Organizers Speak Against Felony Trespass Bill, WORT 88.9 FM, October 22, 2019

    Danielle Kaeding, Senate Committee Taking Up Bill To Create Strict Penalties On Trespassing To Damage Pipelines, Wisconsin Public Radio, October 22, 2019

    Winona LaDuke, Enbridge Throws Its Indigenous Peoples Policy to the Fire Over Pipeline, TruthOut, October 23, 2019

    MEA Calls on Lawmakers to Oppose Felony Trespass Bill, Midwest Environmental Advocates, October 22, 2019

    Esty Dinur, "Pipeline Trespass Bill" segment with Patricia Hammel of the National Lawyer's Guild, A Public Affair, WORT 89.9 FM, October 18, 2019

    Eric Hansen, Letter: Wisconsin lawmakers should oppose trespassing bill, Madison Cap Times, October 17, 2019

    Erik Gunn, Pipeline protest bill has evolved from state to state: How GOP and corporate drafters shaped it to win backing from unions and votes from Democrats, Wisconsin Examiner, October 18, 2019

    Phyllis Hasbrouck, Letter: Lawmakers should oppose the 'felony trespass bill', Madison Cap Times, October 14, 2019

    David Armiak, Bill to Criminalize Environmental Protests in Wisconsin Heads to the Assembly Floor, Center for Media and Democracy, October 10, 2019

    Patrick Marley, Paralyzed Wisconsin lawmaker Jimmy Anderson assails GOP's plan to accommodate his disability, Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, October 10, 2019

    Erik Gunn, Bipartisan bill divides unions, environmentalists, Wisconsin Examiner, October 1, 2019

    Naveena Sadasivam, Trespass near a pipeline, go to prison for 6 years? It could happen in Wisconsin., Grist, September 30, 2019

    Nate Beck, Drawing the Line: Bill to make it felony to trespass on construction sites, Wisconsin Law Journal, September 27, 2019

    Scott Bauer, Wisconsin weighs felony for actions against pipelines, Associated Press, September 26, 2019

    Michelle Phillips, Op-ed: Squelching Protest, Middelton Times-Tribune, September 26, 2019

    David Armiak, Wisconsin Legislators Seek to Criminalize Climate, Environmental Protests with Latest Bill, Center for Media and Democracy, September 16, 2019