Judge Demands Explanation in Pipeline Lawsuit

(WTOP, Washington, 30 March 2018) Texas-based pipeline developer Energy Transfer Partners in August sued Earth First, Greenpeace and BankTrack for up to $1 billion, alleging they disseminated false and misleading information about the $3.8 billion pipeline that’s now moving oil from North Dakota to Illinois, and instigated violent protests while the pipeline was under construction. Greenpeace and BankTrack maintain the lawsuit is meritless and an attack on free speech. The Center for Constitutional Rights maintains Earth First is an unstructured social movement or philosophy, similar to Black Lives Matter, and can’t be sued. However, U.S. District Judge Billy Roy Wilson says Earth First has been a listed plaintiff in three federal lawsuits in the 1980s and 1990s, involving a water project in Arizona, a wilderness area in Oregon and a New Mexico canyon important to American Indians. “If Earth First can sue, it seems to me that it is subject to being sued,” Wilson said in a March 22 order.