FACT CHECK: Does State Legislation Infringe On Free Speech?


EcoWatch reports on legislation approved in Kentucky, South Dakota and West Virginia  designed to protect critical infrastructure projects and the workers who build them:

“While we are all paying attention to COVID-19 and the congressional stimulus packages, state legislatures are quietly passing fossil-fuel-backed anti-protest laws,” Greenpeace USA researcher Connor Gibson, who alerted HuffPost to the laws’ passage, told the news site. “These laws do nothing new to protect communities. 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.”




These laws, like others across the country, are designed to prevent dangerous and illegal activities at critical infrastructure sites, such as pipelines.

Why is this needed? Consider:

Protesters have caused significant damage to pipeline projects and placed themselves and workers in danger with illegal tactics. From Virginia to North Dakota Louisiana to Pennsylvania, protesters have set fires on public roads, set fire to machinery and use torches to cut steel valves on a pipelinechain themselves to machinery, and crawl into a pipeline, to name just a few.

The legislation in Kentucky, South Dakota and West Virginia does nothing to infringe upon constitutionally guaranteed rights to free speech and assembly. Activists remain free to protest so long as they don’t trespass or cause damage to critical infrastructure projects – including pipelines, rail lines, refineries, water facilities and more. This legislation is crucial to protect not only our infrastructure network, but also the safety of workers, first responders, and protesters themselves.