Dakota Access Pipeline Builder Shifts Greenpeace Lawsuit To North Dakota Courts
The builder of the Dakota Access Pipeline has not given up on the goal to seek redress for months of protests, project delays, and cleanup after a federal judge dismissed racketeering claims against Greenpeace on February 14.
Energy Transfer Partners (ETP) sued Greenpeace in North Dakota state court, along with several activists that it originally pursued in its federal case filed in 2017.
ETP sought $1 billion under the racketeering legislation known as Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO). U.S. District Judge Billy Roy Wilson said the case brought by the company had not uncovered a “coordinated criminal enterprise that had worked to undermine ETP and its pipeline project,” according to the Associated Press.
ETP’s state court filing alleges that Greenpeace and activists used “extremist” tactics to repeatedly disrupt DAPL construction, including arson and harassment, while enriching themselves through online donation campaigns.
“Defendants thus advanced their extremist agenda … through means far outside the bounds of democratic political action, protest, and peaceful, legally protected expression of dissent,” wrote Lawrence Bender, ETP’s attorney.
DAPL went online June 1, 2017, despite more than 760 arrests made between August 2016 and February 2017.
As originally reported in Western Wire back in early 2017, thousands of anti-pipeline protesters left behind a documented mess for North Dakota residents to clean up and foot the bill, including hundreds of abandoned vehicles.
Greenpeace has been sued before for defamation and other actions under RICO statutes. In filings responding to the suit, Greenpeace modified their language and admitted “rhetorical hyperbole” in its accusations against Resolute Forest Products, a Canadian timber company. Greenpeace had previously bragged about the $100 million in economic damage inflicted on the company due to its campaign.