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Environmental group Greenpeace seeks dismissal of Dakota Access protest suit

Police use a water cannon on protesters during a protest against plans to pass the Dakota Access pipeline near the Standing Rock Indian Reservation, near Cannon Ball, North Dakota. REUTERS/Stephanie Keith

BISMARCK — The environmental group Greenpeace asked a federal judge Wednesday, Nov. 29, to dismiss a "meritless" lawsuit brought by the developer of the Dakota Access Pipeline.

The lawsuit, filed by Energy Transfer Partners in August, argued Greenpeace and other groups facilitated crimes to interfere with the oil pipeline's construction. Dakota Access was the subject of months of protests before it went into service this summer.

Greenpeace USA general counsel Tom Wetterer said other corporations will be emboldened to "abuse the legal system" if the ETP lawsuit is successful.

"Anyone who values free speech and public advocacy — including journalists, nonprofit organizations, and community protectors — should be following these cases closely, and defending our collective right to speak out against corporate power," he said in a statement.

In its motion to dismiss, Greenpeace also raised the option of transferring the case to federal court in Washington, D.C.

In announcing the lawsuit, ETP accused the groups of employing "a pattern of criminal activity and a campaign of misinformation for purposes of increasing donations and advancing their political or business agendas."

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