Don’t Censor Evidence of Pollution

Polluted Water

Target: Wyoming Governor Matt Mead

Goal: Stop making all data collection on lands illegal and exposing pollution impossible.

Taking a photo exposing pollution on lands outside city limits can land you in jail with a $5,000 fine in Wyoming thanks to a newly implemented law. It makes all data collection on public, private, or federal lands outside the city illegal, with “data collection” meaning to “take a sample of material, acquire, gather, photograph or otherwise preserve information in any form from open land which is submitted or intended to be submitted to any agency of the state or federal government.”

Basically, the law turns any evidence of pollution into evidence of “trespassing,” making being an environmental whistleblower a crime. Companies that create waste will now be able to pollute lands in Wyoming with impunity because anyone who exposed their actions will be charged as a criminal.

The fact that this unnecessary law was so vaguely written to the point that it criminalizes any person trying to expose rampant and illegal pollution suggests that it’s an attempt by big corporations to scare away environmental watchdogs so that they can contaminate Wyoming lands without getting caught. By signing this petition, you’ll demand that Wyoming lawmakers immediately move to repeal this ridiculous law that clearly only exists to protect polluters from consequences.


Dear Governor Mead,

The new bill that you just signed into law effectively makes it illegal to be an environmental whistleblower in Wyoming. Anybody who gathers any kind of evidence of corporate pollution on lands outside city limits can now be fined $5,000 and face up to a year in jail for “trespassing” because the law is written so vaguely. Due to this threat, people will be afraid to present evidence of criminal pollution and corporations can feel free to dump their waste anywhere and get away with it.

Due to the fact that so many corporations put profits before the environment and all the people who rely on it, corporate pollution is a huge problem. That problem is made worse by laws that protect these companies and make it more difficult for their crimes to be exposed. Because of this, we have to rely on concerned citizens and environmental watchdog groups to document and present evidence of pollution. The law you signed makes it difficult or impossible to do so without being charged with a crime.

This vaguely-written bill should never have been signed into law. I demand that you immediately direct the Wyoming congress to repeal this bill so that environmental whistleblowers will no longer be criminalized in your state.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Jemzo

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  1. Stan Benton says:

    This “new law” certainly does make Wyoming look as though it’s run by a bunch of idiots? Or are they just sellouts to sleazy corporations too cheap to dispose of their own waste properly? Why limit it to pollution? Don’t such sellouts also want to make observing and reporting any crime, especially police brutality, animal cruelty in factory farms or slaughterhouses, etc., illegal?

  2. Natalie Jarnstedt says:

    The same is happening with anyone who wants to document extreme animal cruelty and abuse in factory farms and slaughter houses – the industry is trying to make all undercover and above-cover work a crime!

  3. Michael Guest says:

    This is unacceptable. It shouldn’t be illegal to collect pollution as evidence. Repeal the law now.

  4. Dona LaSchiava says:

    Is this petition still active? Please advise. I am appalled that there are only 138 people as outraged as I am at this revolting attempt by the state of Wyoming to sanction and protect environmental terrorism!

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