OKLAHOMA CITY — A trespassing bill prompted by pipeline protests in North Dakota cleared an Oklahoma House of Representatives committee on Wednesday.
House Bill 1123, by Rep. Scott Biggs, R-Chickasha, specifies penalties of up to $100,000 in fines and 10 years in prison for individuals involved in actions against “critical infrastructure.”
It also would provide for fines of up to $1 million for organizations “found to be a conspirator” in occupations that damage or intend to damage such facilities or inhibit their operations.
Biggs told the House Judiciary Committee on Criminal Justice and Corrections that the bill was prompted by oil and gas industry concerns arising from the Dakota Access Pipeline protests in North Dakota, which Biggs said resulted in significant property damage.
Biggs’ bill specifies three levels of trespass on “critical infrastructure,” including rail lines.
The first, a misdemeanor, would be punishable by a fine up to $1,000 and six months in a county jail.
The second, for “intent … to willfully damage, destroy, vandalize, deface, tamper with equipment, or impede or inhibit operations of the facility,” would be a felony punishable by up to $10,000 in fines and one year in prison.
The third category, for willful destruction, would also be a felony and punishable by $100,000 in fines and up to 10 years in prison.
Organizations could be fined up to $1 million for involvement in the second and third categories.
Facilities covered by the law would include refineries, electric generation and transmission facilities, natural gas processing and transportation facilities, telecommunications facilities, crude oil storage and transportation facilities, and certain manufacturing plants.