A bill that would allow the prosecution of those who damage critical infrastructure or try to prevent its use, is on its way to the governor. Saturday, the Senate voted to accept House changes to the bill that clarified that protesting is okay as long as access to the infrastructure is not blocked.
It also reduced a fine for organizations who intend damage to $100,000 and added several protections for landowners who might have things like wells or pipelines on their property. After the House passed the bill, many said the legislation had changed so much that it was unclear what the final product looked like.
Despite all of that, Senate Judiciary Chairman Leland Christensen convinced the Senate to agree with changes to the bill and send it to the governor. Christensen said that the bill is needed as an extra protection against protestors who intend to harm Wyoming’s critical infrastructure. He added that he’s not concerned about any of the changes made in the House.
“What we saw were things that were added, things that were taken away and their final product probably strengthened the bill.”
Christensen said damaging a water pipeline or something that would harm the energy industry would be costly to the state. The bill was supported by industry and local government but opposed by conservation groups and the ACLU who urged the governor to veto it.