Energy Transfer Partners (ETP), the company behind construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline, lashed out against the “Enterprise” in a major lawsuit filed on Tuesday. The 231-page lawsuit accused Greenpeace International, Greenpeace, Inc., Greenpeace Fund, Inc., BankTrack, Earth First!, and other environmental organizations and individuals of participating in a criminal effort to damage the pipeline and ETP’s reputation among its partners and lenders. It is seeking nearly a billion dollars in compensatory and punitive damages under the RICO statute.
RICO, enacted as part of the Organized Crime Control Act of 1970, was originally designed to attack the Mafia’s illegal activities, but has been expanded over the years. It extends criminal penalties not only to the miscreants themselves but to their bosses, funders, and enablers.
ETP said that the Enterprise “cynically planted radical, violent eco-terrorists on the ground amongst the [legitimate peaceful] protesters, and directly funded their operations and publicly urged [those protesters] to [join them].” The Enterprise, specifically Greenpeace, ran a “relentless campaign of lies and outright mob thuggery” and “solicited donations under false claims about the pipeline, threatened the company’s investors and lenders, launched cyberattacks against the company, and sought to sabotage the pipeline.”
In its press release ETP expanded on the charges it filed against the Enterprise, saying that the Enterprise manufactured and disseminated materially false and misleading information about Energy Transfer and the Dakota Access Pipeline for the purpose of fraudulent inducing donations, interfering with pipeline construction activities, and damaging Energy Transfer’s critical business and financial relationships.
ETP expanded on just who the Enterprise consisted of:
[It] is comprised of rogue environmental groups and militant individuals who employ a pattern of criminal activity and a campaign of misinformation for purposes of increasing donations and advancing their political or business agendas.
The Enterprise used blackmail “by publicly demanding [our] financial institutions sever ties with Energy Transfer or face crippling boycotts and other illegal attacks.”
ETP’s press release continued:
The DAPL misinformation campaign 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 protesters.
The Enterprise also 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 Enterprise supported these false claims with manufactured evidence, including phony GPS coordinates purporting to show the existence of cultural and religious artifacts along DAPL's corridor, and sham affidavits submitted in court.
The Enterprise funded the eco-terrorists who “formed their own outlaw camp … and exploited [them] to further the Enterprise’s corrupt agenda by inducing and directing violent and destructive attacks against law enforcement as well as [our] property and personnel,” adding:
The Enterprise then flagrantly manipulated these "made-for-TV" events to raise more funds for the Enterprise. These terrorist groups also funded their activities and the Enterprise by using donations to fund a lucrative drug trafficking scheme inside the camps.
ETP is seeking compensatory damages estimated to be $300 million, along with treble damages under RICO and punitive damages as well.
No doubt the lawsuit will be tied up in court, with appeals by the various parties involved in the Enterprise. But it’s a high-profile lawsuit that will serve another purpose: to bring to light the criminal activities of those so-called environmentalists, whose real purpose is to stall economic growth, leave the oil “in the ground where it belongs," and push the American economy back into the Dark Ages.
A billion-dollar settlement, if eventually granted, ought to quench their enthusiasm for such criminal behaviors in the future.