Protesters who turn off valves or damage pipelines would be guilty of a felony and could be sentenced to prison time, under a measure the Minnesota Senate passed late Monday as part of a larger budget bill. Roseville Democrat John Marty takes issue saying, “I’ve seen people protest by chaining themselves to trees and other things like that, and that may be disrupting the operation,… but a five-year felony? That strikes me as really excessive.” Mound Republican David Osmek responds First Amendment rights end when a person does damage. “You cut the locks… to trespass and go inside and turn off valves…. You have crossed the line,” he says.
The measure is prompted by controversy surrounding Enbridge’s proposed Line 3 pipeline and other projects.