Description: Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) action by Dakota Action Pipeline developers against Greenpeace and other organizations.
Energy Transfer Equity, L.P. v. Greenpeace International
Filing Date Type File Action Taken Summary 08/22/2017 Complaint Download Complaint filed. Dakota Access Pipeline Developers Filed RICO Action Against Environmental Groups. Two companies that led development of the Dakota Access Pipeline filed an action under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) against Greenpeace International and other environmental activist groups. The companies—Energy Transfer Equity, L.P. and Energy Transfer Partners, L.P. (together, Energy Transfer)—alleged that they were the latest business to be targeted by “a network of putative not-for-profits and rogue eco-terrorist groups who employ patterns of criminal activity and campaigns of misinformation to target legitimate companies and industries with fabricated environmental claims.” Energy Transfer asserted that the defendants and other parties had “manufactured” a crisis and engaged in an illegal campaign against the Dakota Access Pipeline, and had worked together to carry out racketeering activity, that included supporting acts of terrorism; defrauding donors, supporters, and state and federal treasuries; engaging in tax fraud and interstate drug trafficking; and transporting and transmitting misappropriated funds and property through interstate commerce. The complaint alleged numerous misrepresentations regarding the pipeline project, citing the campaign’s charges that the project was a “climate destroying project” that would ensure “guaranteed destruction of the planet,” which the complaint called “a sensational lie.” The complaint asserted that the enterprise had exploited “legitimate concerns about mitigating climate change to dupe the public into supporting a campaign that does the opposite” and that the exploitation “lays bare that [the enterprise] is motivated entirely by money, not its proclaimed concerns about environmental impacts.” Energy Transfer alleged that the “scheme’s dissemination of negative misinformation devastated the market reputation of Energy Transfer as well as the business relationships vital to its operations and growth.” In addition to racketeering and conspiracy counts under RICO, Energy Transfer also asserted claims of state law racketeering, defamation, tortious interference with business, and common law civil conspiracy.