Energy Trespass Bill Advances in Wisconsin

A bill that would make it a felony for protesters to trespass on property of oil and gas companies and pipelines is making its way through the Wisconsin legislature. SB 386 was approved in the Assembly (AB 426) and passed the Senate Committee on Judiciary and Public Safety on October 29, 2019. The bill expands current felony protections to “energy providers” of electrical and gas infrastructure to a broad range of companies. It includes all property of those that operate a gas, oil, petroleum, refined petroleum, renewable fuel, water, or chemical generation, storage transportation, or delivery system.

Trade unions support the bill as a worker safety measure to protect them during protests like those against Enbridge Line 3 in northern Wisconsin. The bill is supported by the American Petroleum Institute, Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce and others as well. More than 20 environmental groups opposed the bill, concerned it would make it impossible for people to protest against pipeline projects.  A similar bill was just defeated in Illinois, while nine states have passed similar laws. wsjwislawjournal