Ecoterrorism Prevention Act of 2004

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The Ecoterrorism Prevention Act of 2004 was introduced into the House of Representatives on May 20, 2004 by Republican Representation George Nethercutt. (Nethercutt represented the Spokane, Washington, area for five terms in the U.S. House of Representatives, lost a bid for the U.S. Senate in 2004 and is now the managing partner in the lobbying firm Lundquist, Nethercutt & Griles LLC). [1]

The stated purpose of the bill was to "protect and promote the public safety and interstate commerce by establishing Federal criminal penalties and civil remedies for certain violent, threatening, obstructive, and destructive conduct that is intended to injure, intimidate, or interfere with plant or animal enterprises, and for other purposes." [2]

The bill was referred to the House Committees on the Judiciary, as well as the Committees on Ways and Means, and Science. The bill didn't progress any further and was never presented to the House for a vote. [3]


Provisions of the Bill

The bill proposed to amend the Federal criminal code to prohibit "Animal and plant enterprise terrorism" and estbalished broad parameters for economic losses which affected companies and institutions could seek compensation for.

It also sought to designate "animal and plant enterprise terrorism" as offenses under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act and required the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation to "establish and maintain a national clearinghouse for information on incidents of crime and terrorism." The bill proposed that the 'clearinghouse' on "crime and terrorism" would not be confined to monitoring 'animal enterprises' but would incorporate acts "committed against or directed at any commercial activity because of the perceived impact or effect of such commercial activity on the environment." [4] Under such broad provisions the FBI would be directed to group minor convictions as a result of civil disobedience protests in the same category as 'terrorism'.

The bill also established procedures for the U.S. Attroney General to designate domestic groups as 'terrorist organizations' and proproposed to amend the Internal Revenue Code to provide for the suspension of the tax-exempt status of such organizations.


The bill atracted only four co-sponsors:


While Nethercutt's bill made little progres, a narrower but similar bill - the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act - gained bipartisan support and was signed into law by President Georege. W. Bush on November 27, 2006.

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