Greenpeace asked a judge Wednesday to dismiss a “meritless” lawsuit from the developers behind the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) that claims the environmental group incited terrorist attacks against the project.
“Trump’s go-to law firm, Kasowitz Benson Torres, is once again using its SLAPP playbook to silence critics on behalf of big corporations,” Tom Wetterer, the group’s general counsel, wrote in a press statement about a lawsuit from Energy Transfer Partners (ETP), which claims the group encouraged acts of ecoterrorism.
Wetterer was referring to Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation (SLAPP), a tactic of flooding groups with lawsuits to silent, censor, or otherwise intimidate activists into abandoning their criticism.
ETP claimed in August that the group peddled misinformation about the pipeline to generate donations.
Greenpeace and other activist groups manufactured false information about the so-called DAPL to torpedo the pipeline, the company claimed in their lawsuit. Their actions also violated federal and state racketeering statutes, the company argued.
Company officials alleged at the time that Greenpeace’s claims provoked anti-DAPL activists into believing the $3.8 billion project, which crosses underneath the Missouri River in North Dakota, tramples on tribal grounds and could potentially poison the Standing Rock Sioux’s primary water supply if the line springs a leak.
Opposition to the pipeline died down shortly after the Obama administration rejected the pipeline route – but DAPL opponents were re-energized after President Donald Trump overturned his predecessor’s order.
Wetterer dismisses any notions that the claim protests were orchestrated to help Greenpeace pad its political war chest.
“This lawsuit attempts to rewrite history by grossly distorting the facts about what happened at Standing Rock,” he said. “The #NoDAPL movement was never about Greenpeace but about a united resistance by over 300 Indigenous communities seeking to protect their land, water, and cultural heritage. ”
ETP pushed back against Greenpeace’s accusations in a statement Wednesday to The Daily Caller News Foundation.
“We felt compelled to file the lawsuit against Greenpeace and others because we want the truth to come out about the illegal actions we believe took place in North Dakota and the funding of these actions,” Lisa Dillinger, a spokeswoman for ETP, wrote in a statement.
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