The company alleges that the groups’ actions interfered with its business, facilitated crimes and acts of terrorism, incited violence, targeted financial institutions that backed the project and violated racketeering and defamation laws. The company seeks a trial and monetary damages, noting that disruptions to construction alone cost it at least $300 million and requesting triple damages.
The group of defendants “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 company said in a statement.
The legal action also targets Florida-based Earth First and BankTrack, an environmental activist group out of the Netherlands. Greenpeace called it a classic “Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation” designed to intimidate opponents.
Greenpeace attorney Tom Wetterer said the lawsuit is “meritless” and part of “a pattern of harassment by corporate bullies.” The lawsuit is “not designed to seek justice, but to silence free speech through expensive, time-consuming litigation,” Wetterer said.