N.D. Legislature increases pipeline tampering penalties

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BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — North Dakota’s Republican-led Legislature has increased the punishment for people who tamper with pipelines and groups that help them.

The House passed the Senate bill 76-14 on Monday that more clearly defines that it’s illegal to tamper with critical infrastructure.

The bill says someone who intentionally tampers with infrastructure faces up to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine. It also increases those fines up to $100,000 for an organization found to have conspired with multiple individuals.

GOP Gov. Doug Burgum hasn’t said whether he will sign it.

Seattle resident Michael Foster served six months in prison for a 2016 protest in North Dakota for turning a pipeline valve and stopping oil flow. Foster says the increased penalties would not have stopped him.

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