Case: Energy Transfer Partners v. Greenpeace, BankTrack, et al.
Defending dissent and the right to free speech.
In August 2017, Energy Transfer Partners (ETP) sued NGOs BankTrack and Greenpeace, as well as the EarthFirst! movement, alleging that their campaigns against the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline amounted to racketeering under the Racketeer Influenced and Corruption Organizations (RICO) Act. For BankTrack in particular, its advocacy consisted of organizing public letters to financial institutions that were backing the pipeline – activity that ETP clearly felt threatened by, but which is also clearly protected by the First Amendment. ETP’s lawsuit attacks this free speech by attempting to re-label their work as mafia-like racketeering, and holding them liable for any alleged criminal act committed against the pipeline by protestors.