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Articles by Senior Staff Writer Naveena Sadasivam

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Climate change protesters hold a rally during an extreme heatwave on August 13, 2021 in Portland, Oregon.

A bill that could stifle environmental protests has emerged in an unlikely place: the Democrat-controlled Oregon state legislature. Lawmakers in the Beaver State are considering a bill that could make “disruption of services” provided by so-called critical infrastructure, which includes roads, pipelines, electrical substations, and some oil and gas infrastructure, a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison and $250,000 in fines. The bill labels such activity “domestic terrorism.”

The bill’s sponsor, Democratic state Representative Paul Evans, and other proponents argue that the legislation is necessary to adequately punish extremists who may seek to damage facilities that provide essential public services. The bill appears to be a direct response to the 2020 racial justice protests that turned violent in Portland and the breach of the state capitol in Salem by far-right protesters the same year. A recent report by the Oregon Secretary of State claims that the state has experienced one of the highest rates of domestic violent extremism in the country and that critical infrastructure “continues to be a... Read more

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