Thursday, August 24, 2017

Growing Push Back on Energy Lawfare

I was keeping the first of these in the browser, thinking about posting it, when the next two came along:

Energy Transfer Files Federal Lawsuit Against Greenpeace International, Greenpeace Inc., Greenpeace Fund, Inc., BankTrack And Earth First! For Violation Of Federal And State Racketeering Statutes
Energy Transfer Equity, L.P. (NYSE: ETE) and Energy Transfer Partners, L.P. (NYSE: ETP) today filed a federal lawsuit in the United States District Court for the District of North Dakota against Greenpeace International, Greenpeace Inc., Greenpeace Fund, Inc., BankTrack, Earth First!, and other organizations and individuals. The Complaint, which is Index number 1:17-cv-00173, alleges that this group of co-conspirators (the “Enterprise”) manufactured and disseminated materially false and misleading information about Energy Transfer and the Dakota Access Pipeline (“DAPL”) for the purpose of fraudulently inducing donations, interfering with pipeline construction activities and damaging Energy Transfer’s critical business and financial relationships. The Complaint also alleges that the Enterprise incited, funded, and facilitated crimes and acts of terrorism to further these objectives. It further alleges claims that these actions violated federal and state racketeering statutes, defamation, and constituted defamation and tortious interference under North Dakota law.

The alleged Enterprise is comprised of rogue environmental groups and militant individuals who employ a pattern of criminal activity and a campaign of misinformation for purposes of increasing donations and advancing their political or business agendas. The Complaint describes the Enterprise’s misinformation campaign that aggressively targeted Energy Transfer’s critical business relationships, including the financing sources for DAPL and Energy Transfer’s other infrastructure projects, by publicly demanding these financial institutions sever ties with Energy Transfer or face crippling boycotts and other illegal attacks. . . 
Cabot Oil & Gas Goes on Offensive Against Fracking Nuisance Lawsuits
. . . I was pleasantly surprised when I read that Cabot Oil & Gas Corporation didn’t just go into settlement mode when a landowner named Ray Kemble and his lawyers filed a nuisance suit against the company on allegations that had already been dealt with in prior litigation involving Mr. Kemble that was settled in 2012.

The easy thing to have done with such a case would have been to offer the plaintiff a token settlement, even though the company believed the case was clearly frivolous. Instead, Cabot’s management chose to challenge what it saw as a double-dip filing, and the judge rewarded the company by dismissing the suit in a summary judgment. In normal corporate behavior, that would have been the end of things.

But Cabot’s management had, in the words of company spokesman George Stark, “grown weary of this ‘sue and settle’ racket” that it believes this case represents. So, rather than just let the matter drop, Cabot’s management chose instead to file a counter-suit against Mr. Kemble and his lawyers. “We aren’t suing a landowner,” says Stark, “We’re suing a big law firm.”
What is cheapest in the first case may not be the cheapest policy in the long run. Something about the Danes and Dane-geld.

Judicial Watch Sues for Records on Obama Administration / Environmentalists Shut Down of Dakota Access Pipeline
Judicial Watch filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Defense for all records from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers regarding environmentalist groups’ attempts to stop the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline. Judicial Watch filed the lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia (Judicial Watch vs. U.S. Department of Defense (No. 1:17-cv-01282)).

The suit was filed after the Department of Defense failed to respond to a May 8, 2017, FOIA request seeking:
All records of communication between the Army Corps of Engineers and Greenpeace, Sierra Club, EarthJustice, or Friends of the Earth regarding the Dakota Access Pipeline or the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation.
All internal Army Corps of Engineers emails or communications discussing the efforts of Greenpeace, Sierra Club, EarthJustice, Friends of the Earth, or other environmentalist groups to halt or delay construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline.
. . .
“Barack Obama and radical—and often violent—environmentalists worked in hand-in-glove to shut down the Dakota Access Pipeline. We’re not sure why the Trump Defense Department would hide the facts about this scandal and force us to go to federal court to enforce FOIA,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton.
I would like to believe this the start of trend of greater stoutheartedness on the part of energy providers and conservative NGOs against the governmental/environmental anti-energy alliance.

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