More and more states are making moves to criminalize those who protest the Dakota Access Pipeline —you know, the people who are simply exercising their First Amendment rights—passing legislation that could earn offenders up to 10 years in prison. To rub salt in the unconstitutional wound, leaked audio has been obtained that reveals a representative from a prominent oil and gas lobbying group touting the success of the industry’s efforts to criminalize pipeline protestors.
During a press conference that took place in Washington, D.C., two months ago, senior vice president for federal and regulatory affairs at the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM) Derrick Morgan regarded the criminalization as “model legislation.”
“We’ve seen a lot of success at the state level, particularly starting with Oklahoma in 2017,” stated Morgan. “We’re up to nine states that have passed laws that are substantially close to the model policy that you have in your packet.”
To AFPM, its representatives, and the number of fossil fuel companies it goes to bat for (ExxonMobil, Chevron, and others), this unfair legislation is lauded as a “success.”
This effort to sabotage protesters is still moving forward, and a growing number of states are joining the mix. It’s just another basic First Amendment right slowly being stripped away.