Louisiana lawmakers OK harsher penalties for pipeline damage

Louisiana lawmakers OK harsher penalties for pipeline damage

(AP/WVUE) - As a fight over a Louisiana pipeline rages, a proposal stiffening penalties for damaging or trespassing around the equipment is expected to become law.

The House passed a measure 89-0 Tuesday that would classify pipelines as critical infrastructure. That means anyone who damages the equipment could face up to 15 years in prison, and someone who unlawfully enters pipeline land could get up to five years.

Rep. Major Thibaut (TEE-boh), the New Roads Democrat who sponsored the bill, says he's trying to make sure the equipment is protected.

The bill comes as construction of the Bayou Bridge pipeline in Louisiana has been marked by protests. Advocates say the proposal is intended to criminalize such action.

Gov. John Bel Edwards said Wednesday he'll sign the measure.

House Bill 727: www.legis.la.gov

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