Oil has been flowing through the Dakota Access Pipeline for months now, and lawsuits surrounding protests there in 2016 are winding their way through the court system.
Wednesday, the Center for Constitutional Rights and Earth First !Journal asked a federal court to penalize the law firm representing Dakota Access Pipeline companies, saying it misused the legal system by suing Earth First! for federal racketeering.
The initial lawsuit filed by Casowitz Benson Torres and the Bismarck-based Vogel Law Firm claims Earth First! funded a violent terrorist presence at the Standing Rock protests, with $500,000 and proceeds from drug sales on the site...and exaggerated the environmental risks of the pipeline.
In filing its countersuit, Earth First! says the aim of that lawsuit is not to address racketeering, but is actually just an attempt to scare away activists opposing pipeline construction.