To hold off pipeline resisters, Energy Transfer Partners’ international counter-insurgency surveillance consultant BlackSwan put up deterrents at oil pipeline construction sites and is now under investigation by North Dakota for failing to register its operations. Photo by Talli Nauman
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Native Sun News Today: Dakota Access goes after tribal allies with new lawsuit

DAPL sues resisters for $1 billion

Corporate claim fingers Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s lawyers for racketeering in ‘the Enterprise’
By Talli Nauman
Native Sun News Today
Health & Environment Editor

FARGO, N. D. –– The Fortune 500 company answerable for building the Dakota Access Pipeline across unceded 1851 Ft. Laramie Treaty territory is seeking $1 billion in damages in a new lawsuit against organized opposition involved with the Oceti Sakowin (Great Sioux Nation) struggle to block the private oil infrastructure project.

The company, Energy Transfer Partners, which led the consortium that began pumping the oil through the controversial $3.7-billion pipeline June 1, filed the massive claim in North Dakota U.S. District Court on Aug. 22, naming as chief defendants the non-profit human rights and environmental watchdogs Greenpeace, Banktrack, and Earthfirst!.

The claim implicates Earthjustice, the law firm that launched the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s ongoing litigation against the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The tribe is suing the Corps for failing to adequately consult tribal leaders on the cultural and water issues raised by locating the oil conduit a half mile up-river from the closest Indian reservation drinking water intake in the Oahe Reservoir.

Defendants labelled the claim a SLAPP, or Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation, and called it an attempt to silence water protectors, as pipeline resisters dub themselves.

Earthjustice President Trip Van Noppen concurred: “This complaint from Energy Transfer Partners is nothing more than an attack on all those who stood up for the tribe in this historic fight, packaged as a legal claim. It is an unprovoked and malicious attack on those who would use the power of the law and free speech for good.”

The 187-page interstate racketeering claim steers clear of naming the majority of Native American individuals, organizations and tribes leading the grassroots resistance since early 2016. However, it leaves open the courtroom door to 20 more defendants “whose identities are presently unknown to plaintiffs.”

Read the rest of the story on the Native Sun News Today website: DAPL sues resisters for $1 billion

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