North Dakota Senate passes pipeline tampering bill

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — North Dakota's Senate has passed a bill that better defines the legal consequences for people who tamper with pipelines and any groups that help them.

The measure passed 42-3 on Friday.

Republican Sen. Janne Myrdal of Edinburg sponsored the bill that was inspired by environmental activists who turned an oil pipeline valve in her northeast North Dakota district in 2016.

The legislation says it's illegal to damage energy facilities and other critical infrastructure facilities. It also would increase fines on organizations that conspire with individuals who tamper with infrastructure.

The bill wouldn't prevent the "lawful assembly and peaceful and orderly petition for the redress of grievances, including a labor dispute between an employer and its employee."

The measure now goes to the House for consideration.