Oil Pipeline Protest

In this photo provided by Nancy Trevino, protesters against the Dakota Access oil pipeline gather at and around a hill, referred to as Turtle Island, where demonstrators claim burial sites are located, Thursday, Nov. 24, 2016 in Cannon Ball, N.D. The hill is across a body of water from where hundreds and times thousands of people have camped out for months to protest the construction of the four-state pipeline. 

Photo by Nancy Trevino via AP

At up to five years of hard labor, anyone thinking that they should vandalize energy infrastructure in Louisiana ought to think twice about the penalty for such a crime.

But this level of punishment is apparently not enough for the oil and gas industry, pushing an even more Draconian set of punishments for damaging energy facilities, pipelines and other "critical infrastructure." The new crimes and their penalties, in House Bill 727 by Rep. Major Thibaut, D-New Roads, appear to be a reaction by the industry against vandalism and protests in the North Dakota battles over a new pipeline.

Admittedly, those protests were costly for the companies and local governments in the area but this bill is an over-reaction.

We question whether existing law needs to be embellished with 20-year or 25-year potential sentences that are very likely never to be levied, as even the most enraged hippies are unlikely to do enough damage to justify such heavy penalties.