New Laws Would Make Environmental Protest “Terrorism”

by Will Potter on May 14, 2013

in Terrorism Legislation

Cascadia Forest Defenders

There’s a vibrant national protest movement reviving “direct action” tactics of civil disobedience. And groups like Cascadia Forest Defenders have been so effective that now lawmakers are calling them “terrorists” and trying to pass new laws criminalizing tree-sits.

The bills even single out the Elliott State Forest campaign by name and allow corporations to sue protesters for costing them money.

Just as the ag industry is trying to create a crime of “animal agriculture interference,” the forest industry is trying to create a crime of “interference with forestland management.”

My latest article for Vice investigates these bills and the resurgence of forest defense in the Pacific Northwest.

Here’s an excerpt:

“There’s been a 30-year reign of terror by these people having no respect for the rights of others,” says Rep. Wayne Krieger, a Republican. Krieger says “environmental terrorists” have been “chaining themselves to trees, locking themselves to equipment, and laying down in the road.”

Krieger, a tree farmer and former member of the Oregon Board of Forestry, has introduced HB 2995. It would create a new crime of “interference with state forestland management.” The first offense, a felony, carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 13 months; another offense kicks that up to a $25,000 fine and five years in prison. That’s five years for non-violent civil disobedience.

A companion bill, HB 2996, allows loggers to sue protesters for up to $10,000 in lost income up to six years after a protest ended.

Who are the environmentalists responsible for this terror?

“I coach kindergarten soccer,” says Jason Gonzales of Cascadia Forest Defenders. He testified against the bill and questioned lawmakers’ priorities. “We have students, we are professionals, we meet with governors, we present at panels. And when it’s the last resort we put our bodies on the line.”

Read the full story on

Previous post:

Next post: