Texas lawmakers may stiffen penalties for pipeline damage
By CLARICE SILBER
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - Lawmakers in Texas are considering a bill that would stiffen penalties for those who damage or trespass around oil and gas operations, despite opposition from environmental activists.
Republican Rep. Chris Paddie's bill would also classify pipelines as critical infrastructure, putting them in the same category as power plants and water treatment facilities. The bill would protect any property deemed critical infrastructure.
Supporters testifying at a public hearing on Wednesday said the bill would not limit legal protests but would ensure safety and security at these facilities. It would subject those who trespass, damage the facility or interrupt operations to a third degree felony with up to 10 years in prison.
It comes as other states have taken up similar measures to address oil and gas pipeline protests.
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