Three states have passed laws in March criminalizing forms of protest against fossil fuels as the coronavirus crisis sweeps across the country and distracts the public.
HuffPost reports that over the past month, the governors of Kentucky, South Dakota, and West Virginia have all signed into law controversial legislation designating fossil fuel infrastructure as a “critical” asset. They have also been busy creating criminal penalties for tampering with or “impending operations” on pipelines or other sites.
The bills are largely based on model legislation distributed by conservative think tank American Legislative Council to several states in the wake of the Dakota Access Pipeline protests.
“These laws do nothing new to protect communities,” Greenpeace researcher Connor Gibson told HuffPost. “Instead they seek to crack down on the sort of nonviolent civil disobedience that has shaped much of our nation’s greatest political and social victories.”