The CEO of Resolute Forest Products thinks his logging company is the target of an environmentalist campaign to rake in donations.
“They started to make false claims in 2013,” Richard Garneau, CEO of Resolute Forest Products, told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “They said the forest was being destroyed and the caribou being exterminated. They said we were abusing the First Nations people and making climate change worse. I said this was wrong and they were just lying to raise money.”
But Canadian judges recently rejected an attempt by Resolute to expand a $7 million libel suit against the environmental organization Greenpeace, which began attacking the company in 2012.
Resolute has sought $300 million in damages from Greenpeace in the U.S. suit, claiming the environmental group knowingly and deliberately made false claims about the company with the goal of increasing donations. The judges claimed Resolute’s attempt to include many of Greenpeace’s past statements and actions in the lawsuit would have changed it into “an inquiry into the entire Greenpeace movement.”
“The Canadian Court decision is an important recognition that Resolute’s attempt to legally attack Greenpeace in Canada, the U.S. and worldwide is meritless,” Tom Wetterer, Greenpeace’s general counsel, told TheDCNF.
“The Canadian judges rightfully stopped this unjustified attempt to put the entire Greenpeace movement of over 45 years on trial. This is exactly what Resolute is trying to do in the U.S. lawsuit and the Canadian decision is further notice that this path is unlikely to stand up in court anywhere,” Wetterer said.
Resolute’s lawsuit against Greenpeace Canada will continue, but with a more limited scope. Resolute filed lawsuit against Greenpeace in the U.S. under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act.
Garneau isn’t backing down. He says Greenpeace has fundraised off false statements made about Resolute’s logging operations in Canada’s boreal forests.
“Greenpeace International is a business of $350 million a year while in Canada they make about $12 million,” Garneau said. “I don’t know how much they raised off attacking us, but it is probably significant.”
The campaign against his company is growing, he said. The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is demanding Resolute suspend logging operations.
“Now NRDC is repeating the same false claims and talking points of Greenpeace,” Garneau said. “I was surprised because NRDC has a better reputation than Greenpeace. Instead they parroted Greenpeace.”
NRDC did not return requests for comment on the lawsuit to TheDCNF.
Greenpeace admitted in legal filings its attacks against Resolute were “hyperbole” and “non-verifiable statements of subjective opinion.” Resolute’s 124-page legal complaint called Greenpeace a “global fraud” and that “maximizing donations, not saving the environment, is Greenpeace’s true objective.”
Resolute alleges Greenpeace outright fabricated and digitally modified photos to damage the company and increase fundraising efforts. It accuses the environmental group of being “consistently based on sensational misinformation untethered to facts or science, but crafted instead to induce strong emotions and, thereby, donations.”
Greenpeace calls Resolute “forest destroyers” causing a “caribou death spiral and extinction.”
“They admit that they’ve lied and they’re still continuing to lie so they can keep doing what they’ve been doing for 40 years,” Garneau said. “What we had in mind is that we need to make sure that organizations like Greenpeace are held accountable for their actions…they don’t recognize how much they’re effecting the livelihood of people.”
Greenpeace fabricated evidence of Resolute’s alleged environmental malfeasance, according to Resolute’s lawsuit. Resolute sued Greenpeace in Canadian court in 2013 for defamation and economic interference and again in U.S. court in 2016 under RICO.
The ongoing lawsuit is about to progress to the discovery phase, where lawyers on both sides can examine documents and emails. Resolute claims that Greenpeace has been intentionally trying to slow down this process.
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