Protestors could receive up to 20 years in jail for protesting a crude or natural gas pipeline under a new federal proposal by the Trump administration, according to Bloomberg.
Under current law, a maximum penalty of 20 years can be given for damaging an interstate pipeline. The new law would apply that same maximum to “vandalism and disruption.”
The plan follows and may be stricter than a tough legislation approved last month in Texas also regarding gas pipelines. Transportation consultant Richard Kuprewicz said, “If the intention is to squash valid and well meaning protests, that’s a bad regulation...The devil’s in the detail.”
The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration stated that they will work with Congress to ensure that final legislation doesn’t prevent lawful protesters who are exercising their first amendment rights.