Dakota Access Pipeline owners sue Greenpeace along with other environmental groups
Earth First!, BankTrack, Red Warrior, along with other groups are named in the lawsuit
Energy Transfer Partners claim the environmental groups as “eco-terrorists” that are using certain events for personal gain
Resolute Forest Products filed a similar lawsuit against Greenpeace in May of 2016
The company behind the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline, Energy Transfer Partners, is accusing Greenpeace, Earth First!, BankTrack and other environmental groups of inciting terrorist acts and vandalism to generate publicity and raise money for their causes.
The 231-page complaint refers to the defendants as a “network of putative not-for-profits and rogue eco-terrorist groups.” It goes on to accuse the groups of employing “patterns of criminal activity and campaigns of misinformation to target legitimate companies and industries with fabricated environmental claims and other purported misconduct, inflicting billions of dollars in damage.”
Along with the accusation of being “eco-terrorists,” the complaint states the defendants are, “defrauding charitable donors and cheating federal and state tax authorities with claims that they are legitimate tax-free charitable organizations.”
The complaint goes on to make accusations of, “cyber attacks” along with “intentional and malicious interference with their targeted victim’s business relationships,” and “physical violence, threats of violence and the purposeful destruction of private and federal property.”
Resolute Forest Products Inc
In May of 2016, Resolute Forest Products Inc filed a lawsuit against Greenpeace, making similar accusations against the group and was filed by the same lawyer, Kasowitz Benson Torres LLP.
Kasowitz Benson Torres is a New York-based law firm that happens to have President Donald Trump’s longtime personal attorney Marc Kasowitz as a managing partner. The Resolute Forest Products lawsuit is still pending in San Francisco courts.
The 2016 lawsuit filed by Resolute Forest Products is based on Greenpeace’s campaign against logging. Greenpeace released a statement in regards to the lawsuits on their website.
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. 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. It is yet another classic “Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation” (SLAPP), not designed to seek justice, but to silence free speech through expensive, time-consuming litigation. This has now become a pattern of harassment by corporate bullies, with Trump’s attorneys leading the way.
Dakota Access Pipeline
The construction of the $3.8 billion Dakota Access Pipeline spawned months of protests across several states, with North Dakota becoming the focal point. ETP claims during that time Greenpeace used the situation to cynically plant “radical, violent eco-terrorists on the ground amongst the protesters, and directly funded their operations and publicly urged their supporters to do the same.”
The complaint claims that negative attention hurt ETP and cost them “many hundreds of millions of dollars.” ETP is seeking an unspecified amount of money, which would triple due to America’s racketeering laws.
ETP is also seeking a court order barring the group from any future protests, and another order forcing the company to return money to donors. The company claims that campaigns against DAPL were created off of false evidence and witness accounts.
In the complaint, Red Warrior is accused of acts of terrorism in violation of the U.S. Patriot Act. ETP accuses Red Warrior of attempts and actual destruction of an energy facility, along with arson on government property.
On August 12, 2016, roughly 350 members of Red Warrior entered Dakota Access property without permission, forcing police to escort personnel away from the area as rocks and bottles were thrown, according to the complaint.
The complaint also mentions October 27, 2016, when Red Fawn Fallis allegedly fired a gun three times at officers. Fallis was charged with attempted murder, and her trial is set to begin December 5.
The Dutch not-for-profit group BankTrack, which campaigns against projects that may be damaging to the environment or society, is also included in the complaint. BankTrack issued the following response on their website.
BankTrack has taken note of the outrageous allegations in the lawsuit that ETP/ETE has filed against BankTrack, Greenpeace International, Greenpeace Inc., Greenpeace Fund, Inc., Earth First!, and other organizations and individuals that together opposed the Dakota Access Pipeline Project.
BankTrack vehemently rejects all accusations brought forward by ETP/ETE. We consider it perfectly within our right and our stated mission to inform the general public on potential or actual negative social, environmental and human rights impacts of projects -to be- financed by private sector banks. We also consider it competely within our right to bring information on such projects, including indicators of widespread public concern, to the attention of banks, so that they can make their own assessment of the materiality of this information, and let this weigh into their own decision making processes.
BankTrack considers the lawsuit an attempt of ETP/ETE to silence civil society organisations, and to curb their crucial role in helping to foster business conduct globally that protects the environment, recognises the rights and interests of all stakeholders, and respects human rights. This attempt is bound to fail.
Contrary to what is stated, BankTrack has not made any financial gain from our campaign work on the Dakota Access Pipeline. We are fully transparent on our funding sources, which can be found here, with our audited financial report for 2016 available here.
Further statements will follow.
Along with problems caused by protests, DAPL has had internal problems, causing damage to ETP’s name. The Dakota Access had several small spills before, and after, the pipeline was even functioning, backing concerns that DAPL could do substantial damage to the environment, not if it leaks, when it leaks.