(SD)-Noem Introduces Keystone XL Protest Package
PIERRE, S.D. (AP) - South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem is proposing legislation ahead of construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline to create a way to go after out-of-state money that funds pipeline protests.
The Republican says her bill would let the state follow such money and "cut it off at the source."
Noem would also set up a fund to cover extraordinary law enforcement costs that could come with intense pipeline opposition.
Noem's bills come after opponents of the Dakota Access oil pipeline staged large protests that resulted in 761 arrests in southern North Dakota over a six-month span beginning in late 2016.
North Dakota spent tens of millions of dollars policing the protests and is still seeking reimbursements from the federal government and others.
The American Civil Liberties Union of South Dakota is objecting Noem's plan, saying the bills may threaten freedom of speech and the right to protest.
ACLU South Dakota policy director Libby Skarin says "At best, the bills are entirely unnecessary. At worst, they are meant to chill free speech," adding that introducing new bills at this late stage of the legislative session is "problematic."
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