The Truth About Energy Transfer Partners

by Molly Dorozenski

March 2, 2018

The company behind the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL), has filed a lawsuit against Greenpeace and others in a clear attempt to intimidate and silence peaceful protest. Why? They are profoundly threatened by the powerful resistance rising up against pipelines.

People carry signs in support of the Standing Rock Nation at the Los Angeles area office of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The protest was one of many in a global day of action against the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL).

Energy Transfer Partners (ETP), the company behind the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL), has filed a lawsuit against Greenpeace and others in a blatant attempt to intimidate their critics and to silence peaceful protest. It’s an extreme move and shows that they are clearly threatened by the powerful resistance rising up against pipelines.

But, this lawsuit is just the tip of the iceberg. Read on to learn more about ETP’s cozy business and political relationships and intimidation tactics.

People hold a banner in support of the Standing Rock Sioux outside U.S. District Court where the tribe is seeking an injunction to permanently stop the Dakota Access Pipeline. Actors Shailene Woodley, center, and Susan Sarandon is at right and activist filmmaker Josh Fox is in cap at center. Standing Rock member Bobbi Jean Three Lakes is at right.

Ties to the President

President Trump has in the past invested up to $1million in ETP, and up to $250,000 in Phillips 66 (part-owners of DAPL), according to financial disclosures he made. It’s no surprise that one of his first acts as president was to give the project the green light, overturning Obama’s earlier decision to halt it, since he stood to potentially make a personal profit from the project

Furthermore, ETP’s CEO Kelcy Warren donated over $160,000 directly to Trump’s presidential campaign and to the Republican National Committee.

And the law firm that is representing ETP in its outrageous SLAPP suit against Greenpeace and others, is none other than Kasowitz Benson Torres, the law firm that has represented Trump on numerous occasions in the past.

These connections seem more than coincidences and the fact that ETP is suing is just another example of a crackdown on dissent in Trump’s America.

ETP’s PR firm instructed 3 state governors to demand approval of DAPL

Last year, the governors of North Dakota, South Dakota, and Iowa sent a letter to the Army Corps of Engineers demanding approval of DAPL. The first draft of this letter was prepared by the PR firm LS2Group, which was contracted by ETP – and the letter that was eventually sent was barely edited from its original draft.

The LS2Group, has multiple employees registered to lobby for ETP and has been lobbying for the Dakota Access pipeline since at least 2014. The firm has particularly strong ties to former Governor Branstad of Iowa, who pushed the Governors of South and North Dakota to sign on to the LS2 letter.

This shows that ETP is benefitting from a cozy relationship that exists between the oil industry and state governments in the region.

Private security officers paid by ETP attacked Water Protectors…

As the protests at Standing Rock grew, ETP sent in private security contractors who used pepper spray and attack dogs on peaceful Water Protectors and pipeline opponents.

…and that was just the beginning

ETP hired TigerSwan, a private security firm, to oversee protection of the pipeline project. But as it turns out, TigerSwan is not just any private security firm. It originated as a US military contractor charged with executing the war on terror, and after being contracted by ETP turned its military-style counterterrorism tactics against the movement opposing DAPL.

ETP later paid TigerSwan for information that was used to manufacture a meritless conspiracy lawsuit against environmental groups.  TigerSwan did this by infiltrating the protest camps and activist circles and gathering information via fake social media pages. Perhaps unsurprisingly for a former military contractor, yet no less astonishing, is the language they used in internal documents to describe the peaceful Water Protectors: calling them “terrorists” or “jihadists”, and building intelligence that would allow them to “eliminate” the movement.

Members of different tribes listened as Chief Arvol Looking Horse, spoke to Water Protectors over the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL). DAPL has become ground zero for opposition to a $3.7 billion project that would move domestic crude oil across four states and destroy tribal lands.

Documents have also revealed that TigerSwan collaborated closely with police in North Dakota and other states. TigerSwan shared information with law enforcement, met with them to discuss evidence “collected for prosecution,” and built “person of interest” files as part of their ongoing efforts to attempt to stop the Water Protectors.

It’s clear that ETP will stop at nothing to ensure that its dirty pipelines are built. They have proven they have no limits on what tactics they will employ or who they will go after. But the movement against pipelines won’t be silenced by corporate bullies. We will win this lawsuit and we will win the fight against pipelines.

Join the fight:

By Molly Dorozenski

Molly Dorozenski is a Project Leader at Greenpeace US, where she has worked for eight years in creative and strategic communications. She has planned and executed comprehensive communications campaigns including campaigns on climate, the Arctic, the Gulf Oil Spill, as well as a variety of corporate campaigns that helped move companies towards more sustainable practices. In 2015 she received an Effie Award for work with the VIA Agency that pushed tech companies to commit to using more renewable energy.

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