KENTUCKY (WEHT) – A Kentucky lawmaker will be introducing a bill that would help protect gas pipelines and other infrastructures from protesters.
Rep. Jim Gooch (R-Providence) plans to introduce the bill during the next general assembly. It that would state anyone who tampers with, impedes, or inhibits operations of a key infrastructure asset, would be guilty of felony criminal mischief. It would also carry a penalty of up to five years in prison, if convicted.
Guilty individuals may also be held liable for damages they cause on infrastructure assets.
“As chair of the Natural Resources and Energy Committee, it is my job to champion policies which provide an abundant supply of energy to meet the needs of our citizens. When folks trespass on private property and damage the very infrastructure that delivers the energy that heats our homes and fuels our businesses, they must be held accountable. It is important that we protect our state’s infrastructure assets and energy supply.”
Gooch says eco-terrorists were found to have burned holes through sections of the Dakota Access pipeline in Iowa, as part of a deliberate effort to stop access to a new energy source.
Rising fears of more incidents to come has led to efforts to curtail pipeline protesting that leads to violence and damages.
Gooch said a similar bill passed the Kentucky House last year 81-16, but didn’t make it out of the Senate Natural Resources and Energy Committee.
(This story was originally published on September 24, 2019)