An oil and gas industry group wants to highlight what it says is an increase in protester attacks on energy infrastructure such as oil pipelines via an online database cataloguing incidents of “eco-terrorism, sabotage, arson, vandalism and violence,” The Associated Press reports.
The Energy Equipment and Infrastructure Alliance announced the database through its affiliated Energy Builders coalition this week, Kallanish Energy learns.
The announcement came after a bipartisan group of 84 members of Congress sent a letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions expressing concern about recent incidents and asking if existing laws are enough to adequately prosecute acts that are criminal.
The pressure comes as protests against energy projects, particularly oil and natural gas-related lines, have spread nationwide following last year’s protests in North Dakota against the Dakota Access oil pipeline.
Thousands of people took part in those protests, camping on federal land for months, with 761 arrests in a six-month period, with the ensuing cleanup costing an estimated $38 million.
“That type of what I would consider egregiously inappropriate activity, protest groups are trying to emulate that across the country,” alliance president and CEO Toby Mack told AP. “That’s what we’re on guard for.”
Many of the Dakota Access opponents maintain they used peaceful methods to protest the $3.8 billion project to move North Dakota oil to Illinois. However, two Iowa women have publicly claimed they vandalized the pipeline, according to AP.
Greenpeace, which is being sued by the pipeline’s lead developer, Energy Transfer Partners, for allegedly interfering with its construction, called the Dakota Access protest “a powerful act of united resistance.”
“Corporations and their governmental enablers are desperate to silence dissent every way they can,” Greenpeace USA executive director Annie Leonard told AP.