Energy Company Sues Eco-Groups for Dakota Pipeline Crimes, Defamation

The name Greenpeace is a misnomer, if allegations in a new racketeering lawsuit prove true.

Energy Transfer Partners, the company which owned and built the Dakota Access Oil Pipeline, announced Aug. 22, it is suing Greenpeace International, Greenpeace Inc., and Greenpeace Fund, BankTrack, Earth First! and other groups and individuals for interfering with construction of the pipeline and spreading lies about the project, the property and the company.

The pipeline project and the protests (which were sometimes violent) against commanded media attention throughout 2016 — mostly boosting pipeline opposition.

ETP accused the groups of racketeering and defamation and complained that they coordinated “irresponsible” attacks against the pipeline and the company through a “pattern of criminal activity and a campaign of misinformation.” That included attempts to damage the pipeline itself.

They said the environmentalist groups spread misinformation the company failed to consult the tribes about the pipeline, that the pipeline was desecrating tribal land and more. Claims often repeated in media coverage of the No DAPL protests. Broadcast networks dramatically favored pipeline opponents in their coverage.

A press release on the lawsuit referred to the handful of eco-groups being sued as the “Enterprise,” saying they “claimed that the pipeline will inevitably result in catastrophic oil spills, poisoned water, and massive climate change, while ironically, members of the Enterprise deliberately and maliciously attempted to cut holes in the pipeline with torches which, if successful, would have resulted in significant environmental damage and possible loss of life.”

The company said the various attacks by these groups harmed people and property along the route and other actions cost ETP millions.

NPR reported the company estimated at least $300 million in higher construction costs because of the actions of Greenpeace and others. Greenpeace counsel claimed the lawsuit is an attempt to “silence free speech.”

The company also alleged that the eco-groups “directly and indirectly funded eco-terrorists” protesting North Dakota, near Lake Oahe amid the peaceful protesters, attacked law enforcement and ETP property and employees as well as “manipulated” events to draw media attention and raise funds.

 

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