New Legislation Could Put Texas Pipeline Protesters Behind Bars For 10 Years
May23

New Legislation Could Put Texas Pipeline Protesters Behind Bars For 10 Years

Every year, more than 4 billion metric tons of oil is produced globally, and gas and oil together power 60% of U.S. energy consumption. Much of that oil and gas is extracted in Texas, which is typically friendly to oil and gas industries, a major economic driver in the Lone Star state. To protect those interests, state lawmakers recently passed legislation to protect oil pipelines in Texas. Texas lawmakers in both chambers of the state legislature just approved legislation that criminalizes certain actions of oil pipeline protesters. Under the new legislation, any protester who interrupts operations or damages equipment could potentially face up to 10 years in prison. According to the legislation, protesters who are found guilty of delaying the construction of an oil pipeline or halting its service could be charged with a third-degree felony. A felony could also be charged to anyone found guilty of these actions against pipelines for natural gas, a resource that powers up to 66.7 million homes in the United States. Under federal law a third-degree felony is punishable by serving anywhere between two to 10 years in prison. For reference, this is the same sentence that drive-by shooters who miss their targets face when found guilty. The measure is meant to protect the pipeline companies that build the 72,000 miles of crude oil lines in the United States. According to the proposed legislation, pipelines would be classified as “critical infrastructure,” which is the same category that covers power plants and water treatment facilities. The Texas Oil and Gas Association is in support of the bill’s passage because of this protection. The biggest opponents to the legislation are environmental groups. They view the bill as an attack on the protesters’ right to freedom of speech. “The bill was never about safety and security. It was about silencing protesters trying to protect their water and land,” Cyrus Reed, interim director for the Sierra Club’s Lone Star Chapter, said in an email to Bloomberg. Texas isn’t alone in putting this bill through its legislative bodies. As of early 2018, there were 58 anti-protest bills moving through the legislatures of 31 states. Similar legislation has already passed in Iowa, Oklahoma, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Louisiana. All of these bills come in the wake of the Dakota Access Pipeline protests that took place during the summer of 2016 and the decade-long battle over the Keystone XL pipeline. Considering dangerous materials like asbestos (of which 804,000 tons were abated in 1973) and lead have historically led to harm in the areas in which they’re used. Protesting other harmful materials, or a pipeline, is a behavior protected by...

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SEO in 2019: What’s Changing?
May23

SEO in 2019: What’s Changing?

SEO, like all aspects of digital marketing, changes rapidly. It can vary greatly from year to year, or even month to month. This is why it’s so important for businesses to be up to speed with what’s going on in the world of SEO. Fortunately, we’ve compiled some information provided by industry experts to share with you. Optimize for Voice Search Over the past few years, voice search has become increasingly popular. By just speaking a few words, consumers can have easy access to related search results. And many industry experts say that keywords and pages should absolutely be optimized for voice search. According to Danny Star from Websites Depot, “SEO in 2019 has two new paradigms: Artificial Intelligence and Voice Marketing. The evolution of AI makes it fundamental to invest in content that is as useful as it gets. Google’s goal is not only to provide the best answers but actually to predict user’s search intentions. An advanced level of keyword research applied to engaging, useful content is key. On the other hand, voice marketing is also changing the game on keyword research, as they need to adapt to the way users talk. Local businesses are the primary beneficiaries of this emerging type of marketing.” And Daniel Lewis from Lewis SEO agrees with the importance of voice search, saying, “Search is a constantly changing universe and a lot of times people come to the party late. By the time the general populous learns about a technology being important, its been important for a while. The technology you should be dealing with because its already here is voice first. If you are not already optimized for voice first you need to get the lead out and get it moving!” With more and more people investing in voice technology, like Alexa, businesses need to adapt to how consumers are conducting searches. Andrew Ruditser from MAXBURST explains, “With the development of Siri, Alexa, and many other personal assistance voice apps, businesses and services are going to have to change the way they present their content. For these voice applications to distribute their information properly, companies will have to change their content to more of an answering questions/problem solving type of presence. This will become a bigger trend in 2019 as the development of these products continue to expand.” Know What Consumers Want Search results pages are designed to provide the best possible resources related to the user’s search — and sites like Google are really honing in on providing the best search results possible. Maria Cieslak from Onely says “Recently, we can see that Google is paying more attention to providing...

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