Legislation that would criminalize public protest and legitimize the Dakota Access Pipeline as part of Iowa’s critical infrastructure could come up today in the Iowa House!
Here’s the press release Bold Iowa sent out this morning. While it’s tremendously encouraging that Bold and Labor are again on the same page, we have a lot of work to do to convince House members to vote down this bill and support the public good over a powerful corporation’s greed.
Besides stifling public dissent, this bill could adversely impact the landowner/Sierra Club lawsuit before the Iowa Supreme Court. Energy Transfer Partners (ETP) has argued all along that the Dakota Access Pipeline is a public utility. It’s not, yet if this legislation passes ETP’s lawyers could say they’re entitled to use eminent domain because their pipeline is “critical.”
Let’s do everything we can to make sure that doesn’t happen! Thanks – Ed
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Unions, Bold Iowa Join Forces to Oppose Pipeline Company’s Legislation
Proposal could render peaceful protest a serious criminal offense
Labor unions that backed the Dakota Access Pipeline have teamed up with Bold Iowa, one of the pipeline’s leading opponents, to oppose legislation that would criminalize peaceful, non-violent protest. SF 2235 and HF 2394 define the Dakota Access Pipeline as “critical infrastructure” and create severe penalties that could stymie free speech. Energy Transfer Partners, the parent company of Dakota Access, is behind the bill. The company’s lobbyists were the first to sign on in support of SF 2235.
“Bold Iowa’s coalition of environmentalists, Indigenous communities, farmers, and landowners has a lot more in common with Labor than any of us have with Energy Transfer Partners,” said Ed Fallon, director of Bold Iowa. “This out-of-state corporation wants to silence dissent so that, in the future, it can ram through the next pipeline with zero public opposition.”
Labor unions are against the bill because, as written, it would have a chilling effect on people of conscience. It could label acts of civil disobedience as class B felonies with sentences of up to 25 years in prison and a fine of $100,000. It could make people who chain themselves to buildings and equipment subject to the same penalties as those who blow things up.
Bold Iowa also opposes the legislation because it legitimizes the Dakota Access Pipeline as critical infrastructure. “Electrical lines, water lines, gas lines — these services are critical to Iowans,” said Fallon. “When the power goes down, we notice immediately. When a water or gas line breaks, we’ve got an urgent crisis. But a pipeline that merely transports oil through Iowa to the Gulf of Mexico? We don’t need that. The Dakota Access Pipeline will become a critical concern only when it breaks and poisons our water.”
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