By August 25, 2017 0 Comments Read More →

Dakota Access Pipeline company sues Greenpeace under RICO Act

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FILE PHOTO: A man holds an American flag while marching with veterans and activists outside the Oceti Sakowin camp where “water protectors” continue to demonstrate against plans to pass the Dakota Access pipeline adjacent to the Standing Rock Indian Reservation, near Cannon Ball, North Dakota, U.S., December 5, 2016. REUTERS/Stephen Yang/File Photo

Lawsuit alleges donations were used to fund lucrative drug trafficking scheme inside demonstrator camps

The company behind the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline which drew protester camps and controversy has filed a federal lawsuit in North Dakota against Greenpeace International and other organizations and individuals, according to a press release.

Energy Transfer Partners LP is built the $3.8 billion Dakota Access Pipeline  to move crude from the Northern Plains of North Dakota to the Midwest and then on to the Gulf of Mexico.

Public opposition to the pipeline drew thousands of people last year including high-profile political and celebrity supporters. Large protest camps popped up near the site, leading to several violent clashes and some 700 arrests.

The complaint alleges that Greenpeace and the other groups “manufactured and disseminated materially false and misleading information about Energy Transfer and the Dakota Access Pipeline for the purpose of fraudulently inducing donations, interfering with pipeline construction activities and damaging Energy Transfer’s critical business and financial relationships.”

The complaint accuses Greenpeace of “crimes and acts of terrorism to further these objectives” and alleges that these actions violated federal and state racketeering statutes, defamation, and constituted defamation and tortious interference under North Dakota law.

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Greenpeace dismissed the lawsuit, calling it a SLAPP (Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation) designed to stifle free speech and public debate through expensive, time-consuming litigation.

“This is the second consecutive year Donald Trump’s go-to attorneys at the Kasowitz law firm have filed a meritless lawsuit against Greenpeace. They are apparently trying to market themselves as corporate mercenaries willing to abuse the legal system to silence legitimate advocacy work,” Greenpeace USA’s general counsel Tom Wetterer said in a statement.

Energy Transfer claims that the attacks were “calculated and thoroughly irresponsible,” causing enormous harm to people and property along the pipeline’s route.

“This complaint repackages spurious allegations and legal claims made against Greenpeace by the Kasowitz firm on behalf of Resolute Forest Products in a lawsuit filed in May 2016. This has now become a pattern of harassment by corporate bullies, with Trump’s attorneys leading the way,” said Wetterer.

According to the complaint, Greeneace led a misinformation campaign that was predicated on a series of false, alarmist, and sensational claims that plaintiffs:

  • encroached on tribal treaty lands;
  • desecrated sacred sites of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s (“SRST”) in constructing DAPL;
  • constructed DAPL without consulting with and over the rights and objections of SRST; and
  • used excessive and illegal force against peaceful protestors.

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In addition to its misinformation campaign, Energy Transfer claims Greenpeace directly and indirectly funded eco-terrorists on the ground in North Dakota. Including fundraising events for terrorist groups and using the donations to fund a “lucrative drug trafficking scheme in the camps”.

Energy Transfer claims the damages, as well as the harm to the company’s reputation, resulting from the Enterprise’s misinformation campaign, continue to this day.

Energy Transfer is seeking compensatory damages in an amount to be proven at trial as well as treble and punitive damages.

Posted in: USA

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