Standing Rock Protest over Dakota Access Keystone XL Pipeline
Amid coronavirus chaos US Governors are getting ready to help? Nope. They are using the media and the smokescreen created by the coronavirus to stealthily pass unpopular laws. In fact, just a couple of days after Standing Rock’s big win against Dakota Access Governors of Kentucky, South Dakota and West Virginia approved fossil-industry backed laws against civil disobedience. This ensures that a protest the size of Standing Rock can be easily dealt with in the future.
Here’s how: Kentucky designated “natural gas or petroleum pipelines” as “key infrastructure assets” and made “tampering with, impeding, or inhibiting operations of a key infrastructure asset” a “criminal mischief in the first degree.” Whereas, both South Dakota and West Virginia expanded the definition of “critical infrastructure” to include oil, gas or utility equipment, and then raised the charges of “interruption or impairment of such facilities” to felonies—yep a pretty big deal.
These aren’t the first signs of Trump’s environmental agenda amid virus chaos. Earlier this week Trump ordered the EPA to stop policing polluters, whilst approving mining projects and auctioning new drilling leases.
“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. 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.”
Connor Gibson—researcher at Greenpeace USA.
These are stark examples of author Naomi Klein’s “shock doctrine”—a phenomenon where polluters and government officials ally to pass controversial policy under a smokescreen of national emergency.