WYOMING - 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"

2019 WY HB 10

  • Introduced on Jan. 22, 2019,
  • Died in committee (WyoFile)

ICNL analysis:

Would heighten potential penalties for protests near oil pipelines and other infrastructure facilities, including those under construction. The bill creates the offense of "critical infrastructure trespass," defined as entering or remaining on a critical infrastructure facility or the construction site of such a facility, while aware or on notice that presence is not authorized. Under the bill, critical infrastructure trespass is a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail and a fine of $1,000. The bill also creates the offense of “impeding critical infrastructure,” defined as intentionally impeding the operations of or access to an infrastructure facility or facility construction site, or tampering with or damaging facility equipment. A person who impedes critical infrastructure, e.g. by blocking the entrance to a pipeline construction site during a protest, may be charged with a felony, punishable by up to ten years in prison and $10,000 if the impediment results in over $1,000 in damage or lost profits. The bill also provides that an organization that "aids, abets, solicits, compensates, hires, conspires with, commands or procures" a person to commit the crime of impeding critical infrastructure is liable to a fine of up to $100,000 and civic damages to the infrastructure facility for lost profits. "Critical infrastructure facility" is broadly defined and among many other things includes oil and gas pipelines, refineries, water treatment plants, airports, and railroad tracks - or the construction sites thereof. 

ALEC legislators:

3 of 10 co-sponsors are WY ALEC affiliate politicians: Rep. Eli Bebout, Rep. Danny Eyre, and Rep. Tyler Lindholm

CSG legislators:

6 of 10 co-sponsors are confirmed CSG affiliates:

  • Rep. Lloyd Larsen attended the CSG West’s Western Legislative Academy in 2013
  • Rep. Tyler Lindholm attended the CSG West’s Western Legislative Academy in 2015, and was the 2016 WLA “class president.” Lindholm was on the 2017-2018 CSG West Canada Relations committee.
  • Sen. Eli Bebout is on the 2017-2018 CSG West Executive Committee. Bebout was previously on the 2011-2012 CSG Economic Development Committee.
  • Sen. Ogden Driskill is on the CSG West Agriculture & Rural Development Committee as of 2018. Driskill was on the 2013-2014 CSG West Executive Committee.
  • Sen. Dave Kinskey is on the CSG West State and Federal Affiairs Committee, as of 2018.
  • Sen. Drew Perkins is a member of the CSG West Finance & Economic Development committee as of 2018. Perkins did the CSG Western Legislative Academy in 2010.

Oil & Gas Lobbying:

According to WyoFile, the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM) hired Holland & Hart in 2018 to advocate for these bills:

A trade association representing oil refineries and petrochemical manufacturers across the country brought the controversial critical infrastructure bill to Wyoming, said lobbyist Matt Micheli. The American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers, brought the bill to Micheli’s law firm Holland & Hart last year, Micheli told WyoFile. The law firm subsequently asked then-Sen. Leland Christensen (R-Alta) and other lawmakers to introduce it last year. [...] Both Holly Frontier and Sinclair Oil Company, which operate large refineries in Wyoming, are members of the association represented by Holland & Hart.

2018 SF 74:

  • Introduced February 19, 2018
  • Vetoed by Governor, House failed to override on March 15, 2018

ICNL analysis:

Would raise potential penalties for protests near oil pipelines and other facilities by providing for the offense of "critical infrastructure trespass." The offense is defined as entering or remaining on a "critical infrastructure facility" while aware or on notice that presence is not authorized. Under the bill, critical infrastructure trespass is a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail and a fine of $1,000. If a person trespasses with the intent to impede the facility's operations, or damage, deface, or tamper with facility equipment, the offense is a felony punishable by up to ten years in prison and a $100,000 fine. The bill also provides that an organization that "aids, abets, solicits, encourages, compensates, conspires, commands or procures" a person to commit felonious infrastructure trespass is liable to a fine of up to $1 million. "Critical infrastructure facility" is broadly defined and among many other things includes oil and gas pipelines, refineries, water treatment plants, railroad tracks, and telephone poles.

ALEC legislators:

2 of 15 co-sponsors are confirmed WY ALEC members: Sen. Eli Bebout, and Rep. Nathan Winters

CSG legislators:

9 of 14 co-sponsors are confirmed members of CSG:

  • Sen. Leland Christensen is on CSG West’s committees for Public Safety and Canada Relations, as of 2018. Christensen was in the 2011 class of CSG West’s Western Legislative Academy, as he served on the CSG West Economic Development Committee in 2011-2012.

  • Sen. Eli Bebout is on the 2017-2018 CSG West Executive Committee. Bebout was previously on the 2011-2012 CSG Economic Development Committee.

  • Sen. Ogden Driskill is on the CSG West Agriculture & Rural Development Committee as of 2018. Driskill was on the 2013-2014 CSG West Executive Committee.

  • Sen. Michael Von Flatern is the 2018 vice chair of CSG West and a member of CSG West’s Energy and Environment Committee. Previously, von Flatern was a member of the CSG West Executive Committee, and the CSG West Energy and Environment Committee, in 2015 and 2016.

  • Sen. Dave Kinskey is on the CSG West State and Federal Affiairs Committee, as of 2018.

  • Sen. Drew Perkins is a member of the CSG West Finance & Economic Development committee as of 2018. Perkins did the CSG Western Legislative Academy in 2010.

  • Rep. Bo Biteman attended the 2017 CSG annual meeting in Las Vegas, according to the event’s mobile app.

  • Rep. Stan Blake was on the 2011-2012 CSG West International Trade Committee

  • Rep. Dan Kirkbride did the 2013 CSG Western Legislative Academy

OIl & Gas Campaign Contributions:

Co-sponsors received $131,371 from oil & gas companies and employees

Media Reports & References

Andrew Graham, Obit: Critical infrastructure bill 2019 succumbs to deadline, WyoFile, February 5, 2019

Bob Beck, Critical Infrastructure Bill Moves To The House Floor, Wyoming Public Media, February 3, 2019

Bob Moen, Infrastructure protest bill advances in Wyoming Legislature, AP, February 1, 2019

Andrew Graham, Refinery group brought Wyoming “critical infrastructure” fight, WyoFile, January 29, 2019

Tennessee Watson, Critical Infrastructure Bill Focuses Heavily On Industry Profit Loss, Wyoming Public Media, January 29, 2019

Nick Reynolds, A controversial bill aimed to block protests like Standing Rock is back in the Wyoming Legislature, Casper Star-Tribune, January 28, 2019

Joyce Evans and Liza Millett, Bury ‘crimes against critical infrastructure’ idea once and for all, WyoFile, January 19, 2019

Kerry Drake, ‘Critical infrastructure’ the ultimate zombie bill must die, WyoFile, January 1, 2019

Andrew Graham, ‘Critical infrastructure’ bill rides again, WyoFile, December 21, 2018

Nicholas Kusnetz, How Energy Companies and Allies Are Turning the Law Against Protesters, InsideClimate News / Washington Post, August 22, 2018

Arno Rosenfeld, Wyoming governor vetoes 'critical infrastructure' bill that critics feared violated free speech, property rights, Casper Star-Tribune / Billings Gazette, March 15, 2018

John Spina, Sen Christensen's infrastructure bill passes at last minute, Jackson Hole News & Guide, March 10, 2018

Eric Galatas, Critics Warn Bill Advancing in WY Senate Could Chill Free Speech, Public News Service, February 23, 2018

Steve Horn, Wyoming Now Third State to Propose ALEC Bill Cracking Down on Pipeline Protests, DeSmog, February 21, 2018

Andrew Graham, Would bill to protect energy infrastructure stifle protests?, WyoFile, February 15, 2018