Greenpeace Files Motions to Dismiss in “Meritless” Standing Rock Suit

Suit Brought by Trump’s Go-to Law Firm on Behalf of Energy Transfer Partners Intends to Silence Critics

November 29, 2017

BISMARCK, NORTH DAKOTA – This morning, Greenpeace filed motions to dismiss a Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation (SLAPP) brought by Kasowitz Benson Torres on behalf of Energy Transfer Partners.  The motions argue the case should be dismissed because it rests on meritless legal claims to punish legitimate advocacy work and activism.

Greenpeace USA general counsel Tom Wetterer said:

“Trump’s go-to law firm, Kasowitz Benson Torres, is once again using its SLAPP playbook to silence critics on behalf of big corporations. This time, they’re working for Energy Transfer Partners in an effort to silence critics of the Dakota Access Pipeline. This abuse of the legal system will not work, in the courts or elsewhere. Greenpeace will continue to stand up for environmental and social justice.

“This lawsuit is meritless and should be dismissed at the earliest opportunity. That was the fate of the suit brought against Greenpeace in 2016 by the Kasowitz firm on behalf of Resolute Forest Products, Canada’s largest logging company, and it should be the fate of this suit as well. The Resolute lawsuit made similar baseless claims in a transparent attempt to silence free speech and mislabel legal advocacy as criminal conduct through the use of U.S. racketeering laws (RICO).  A federal judge dismissed that lawsuit last month, citing the same reasons this lawsuit should be dismissed now, aptly stating ‘The academy, and not the courthouse, is the appropriate place to resolve scientific disagreements of this kind.’

“It is not just the law that Energy Transfer Partners has wrong, it’s also the facts.  This lawsuit attempts to rewrite history by grossly distorting the facts about what happened at Standing Rock. 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.  Greenpeace stands in solidarity with the Indigenous Water Protectors and their peaceful opposition to this pipeline, but we deny all the allegations of wrongdoing made in this lawsuit.

“If Energy Transfer Partners succeeds, it will embolden other corporate giants to abuse the legal system with SLAPPs to silence any criticism. Anyone who values free speech and public advocacy — including journalists, nonprofit organizations, and community protectors — should be following these cases closely, and defending our collective right to speak out against corporate power.”

For further information or questions, please contact Travis Nichols, 206.802.8498 tnichols@greenpeace.org

Link to Motion to Dismiss: https://www.greenpeace.org/usa/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/ETP_Memo-in-Support-of-MTD_Inc._GPI-1-1.pdf

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