BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — An attorney for Greenpeace says a lawsuit filed against it and other environmental groups by the developer of the Dakota Access pipeline is meritless.
Texas-based Energy Transfer Partners alleges that the groups’ actions opposing the pipeline to move North Dakota oil to Illinois interfered with its business, facilitated crimes and acts of terrorism, incited violence, targeted financial institutions that backed the project and violated racketeering and defamation laws.
The lawsuit filed Tuesday in federal court in North Dakota seeks damages that could approach $1 billion.
Greenpeace attorney Tom Wetterer says the lawsuit isn’t designed to seek justice “but to silence free speech through expensive, time-consuming litigation.”
The 1,200-mile (1930-kilometer) pipeline began operating June 1, after months of delays caused by legal wrangling and on-the-ground protests by tribes and groups that feared environmental harm.