Environmental advocates in Oregon are worried that a bill intended to crack down on so-called ecoterrorism could punish activists who take part in peaceful protests and acts of civil disobedience. The Oregon Senate yesterday overwhelmingly passed legislation that would let “eco-sabotage” crimes be prosecuted under the state’s racketeering laws and would allow prosecutors to seek triple damages against those convicted of such crimes. The bill’s chief sponsor, Sen. Ted Ferrioli (R), said that environmental vandalism had resulted in $50 million worth of damage in the state over the past 10 years, citing arson at a timber company office, a bombing at a car dealership, and the destruction of genetically engineered trees. But Sen. Charlie Ringo (D), who voted against the bill, argued that laws are already on the books to deal with these sorts of crimes and that the new legislation could be used against mainstream environmental activists. The bill, which is now headed for the Oregon House, defines eco-sabotage as a crime committed “to further environmental objectives.”