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Energy Transfer files federal lawsuit against co-conspirator group

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World Pipelines,

Energy Transfer Equity, L.P. and Energy Transfer Partners, L.P. have filed a federal lawsuit in the United States District Court for the District of North Dakota against Greenpeace International, Greenpeace Inc., Greenpeace Fund, Inc., BankTrack, Earth First!, and other organisations and individuals.

The complaint, which is Index number 1:17-cv-00173, alleges that this group of co-conspirators (the enterprise) manufactured and disseminated materially false and misleading information about Energy Transfer and the Dakota Access pipeline (DAPL) for the purpose of fraudulently inducing donations, interfering with pipeline construction activities and damaging Energy Transfer's critical business and financial relationships. The complaint also alleges that the enterprise incited, funded, and facilitated crimes and acts of terrorism to further these objectives. It further alleges claims that these actions violated federal and state racketeering statutes, defamation, and constituted defamation and tortious interference under North Dakota law.

The alleged enterprise 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 complaint describes the enterprise's misinformation campaign that aggressively targeted Energy Transfer's critical business relationships, including the financing sources for DAPL and Energy Transfer's other infrastructure projects, by publicly demanding these financial institutions sever ties with Energy Transfer or face crippling boycotts and other illegal attacks.

The complaint asserts that the attacks were calculated and thoroughly irresponsible, causing enormous harm to people and property along the pipeline's route. Dakota Access was a legally permitted project that underwent nearly three years of rigorous environmental review and for this reason, Energy Transfer believes it has an obligation to its shareholders, partners, stakeholders and all those negatively impacted by the violence and destruction intentionally incited by the defendants to file this lawsuit.

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.
  • Used excessive and illegal force against peaceful protestors.

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 co-ordinates purporting to show the existence of cultural and religious artifacts along DAPL's corridor, and sham affidavits submitted in court.

In addition to its misinformation campaign, the enterprise directly and indirectly funded eco-terrorists on the ground in North Dakota. These groups formed their own outlaw camp among peaceful protestors gathered near Lake Oahe, and exploited the peaceful activities of these groups to further the enterprise's corrupt agenda by inducing and directing violent and destructive attacks against law enforcement as well as Plaintiffs' property and personnel. 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.

Other illegal activities directed at Energy Transfer and its executives that are alleged in the complaint include persistent attempted cyber attacks and telephonic and electronic threats to the physical safety of executives.

The enterprise has conceded that their campaign has inflicted "hundreds of millions of dollars of damage to the company," including increased costs of financing resulting from the enterprise's interference with the company's financial relationships and mitigation costs in response to the enterprise's illegal and malicious campaign. These damages, as well as the harm to the company's reputation, resulting from the enterprise's misinformation campaign, continue to this day. Energy Transfer is seeking compensatory damages in an amount to be proven at trial as well as treble and punitive damages.

Michael J. Bowe from Kasowitz, Benson & Torres LLP, the company's counsel, is continuing the investigation into the enterprise's campaign and practices.

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