We believe a healthy democracy is a precondition to a healthy environment and that is why we are fighting for our right to peacefully protest for what we believe is best for the people and our planet. One piece of that fight is our belief that free speech and peaceful dissent are fundamental pillars of democracy.
We’ve seen these pillars come under attack by a growing number of entities, including corporate polluters, who are invested in seeing our ability to call out their wrongdoings be stripped away by the rise of repressive attacks including “Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation” (SLAPPs). SLAPP lawsuits, like the one Energy Transfer, the company behind the Dakota Access Pipeline, brought against Greenpeace offices and others, attempt to silence peaceful dissent by using litigation as a tool for deterring peaceful protest and bear witness to the damage these corporations are doing to our planet.
Corporations sought to exponentially increase the potential amount of money they could recover under a SLAPP suit by using a new tactic: RICO, or the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, which allows for recovery of treble (or triple) damages. RICO was alleged in both the first SLAPP suit brought against Greenpeace entities by Resolute Forest Products as well as the suit filed by Energy Transfer in federal court. Rather than allowing these lawsuits to have the intended effect of silencing dissent, the Greenpeace entities fought them head on and successfully got the RICO claims dismissed from both cases. Since then, no new RICO/SLAPP cases have been filed against advocacy groups. In April 2023, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California dismissed a seven-year lawsuit against Greenpeace USA and Greenpeace International brought by Resolute Forest Products. Despite these key victories, as is often the case in SLAPP suits, Energy Transfer continues to drag the Greenpeace entities through resource intensive and costly litigation.
That is why Greenpeace helped launch a network of individuals and organizations called Protect the Protest task force (PTP) to push back on this latest attempt to undermine democratic participation in the crucial issues of the day. We know that not every individual or organization that faces a SLAPP lawsuit has the means to fight this attack so creating a space where we can collectively work to end this threat, once and for all, was critical for us. We believe we strengthen our democracy by engaging in it, and further cement safeguards in both law and public opinion about the importance of democratic participation and our right to dissent.
Trump’s go-to law firm is suing Greenpeace and others with a “SLAPP” suit. The company behind the Dakota Access pipeline is using this as a way to try and erase the history of the Indigenous-led peaceful protests that took place at Standing Rock — but we are not going to let that happen.
The company behind the the Dakota Access Pipeline is suing Greenpeace and another advocacy group for everything from terrorism to arson to criminal conspiracy, attempting to erase the true history of an Indigenous led and peaceful movement and replacing it with lies designed to divide us. A new investigation reveals how Energy Transfer Partners built its unscrupulous case by hiring private security firm TigerSwan to infiltrate protest camps and monitor Indigenous water protectors and their allies.