The Pennsylvania legislature recently brought forward Senate Bill 652 (S.B 652) which will strengthen the punishment for trespassing, vandalizing, burglarizing, and protesting on ‘critical infrastructure.’
Pipeline opponents, specifically State Senator Andy Dinniman, have voiced outrage and alleged that S.B 652 infringes on first amendment rights. It is important to note that the purpose of S.B. 652 is to ensure safety at construction sites. By opposing sensible legislation like this, Sen. Dinniman and other pipeline opponents are showing their true colors, putting ideological views ahead of safety.
Pipeline opponents have been well-known to enter construction sites without permission to vandalize construction equipment, get pictures and video, as well as other activities. While they have the audacity to think that they understand what they are doing, there is a reason why trained professionals are only allowed in this area. If something were to happen where someone was injured, you can bet that pipeline opponents would use the legal system to sue and pipeline operators and contractors would no doubt be liable.
S.B. 652 is needed to ensure the safety of construction sites. We should not expect that Sen. Dinniman and others would understand this because they are blinded by political ideology, but ensuring safety is always the top priority.