Judicial Watch Sues for Records on Obama Administration / Environmentalists Shut Down of Dakota Access Pipeline
AUGUST 23, 2017
(Washington, DC) – 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.
In July 2016, the Corps gave permission to pipeline developer Energy Transfer Partners LP to start construction of the pipeline.
In October 2016, protesters reportedly set fires on a highway and lobbed “improvised fire bombs” at law enforcement officers, the Morton County Sheriff’s Department said in a statement.” There were reportedly over 140 arrests made at the Dakota Access Pipeline protest camps.
In December 2016, the Obama administration reversed itself and denied the permit for the construction of a key section of the pipeline.
On February 23, 2017, the National Guard and police evicted the remaining protesters. The Army Corps of Engineers paid a Florida-based waste-management company $1.1 million to clean up the environmentalists’ protest camps. Some 21.48 million pounds of garbage left behind by the protesters was hauled away.
The Trump administration finally reversed the Obama administration’s lame duck decision. The Army Corps of Engineers in February granted the final permit needed for the pipeline after President Donald Trump called for expediting the project.
As reported by Bloomberg.com, Energy Transfer Partners LP recently filed suit against Greenpeace and its allies for “engaging in what they claim is a racketeering scheme far beyond ordinary environmental advocacy. Resolute Forest Products Inc. made similar allegations over Greenpeace’s campaign against logging in a May 2016 lawsuit.”
“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.