Federal Court Dismisses Logging Company’s RICO Charges Against Greenpeace

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Chris White Tech Reporter
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A California judge dismissed several racketeering charges that a logging company leveled against one of the largest environmental organizations in the country.

U.S. District Judge Jon Tigar said Monday night that Greenpeace was exercising its freedom of speech when it described Resolute Forest as a “forest destroyer.” The company believes the group’s actions were akin to a libelous “disinformation campaign” to generate campaign funds.

Resolute claims Greenpeace retracted initial claims that the company’s logging had violated the terms of an environmental agreement, and falsely accused the company of endangering animals.

Tigar dismissed the case and ordered Resolute Forest to reimburse the environmental groups for court costs and other fees.

“The academy, and not the courthouse, is the appropriate place to resolve scientific disagreements,” Tigar said, adding that Resolute’s complaints of fundraising off the allegations were misplaced, because any possible deceptive actions would have hurt only the donors.

Daniel Brindis of Greenpeace USA told reporters that the company’s lawsuit was a waste of time.

“It is time for Resolute to finally work with environmental organizations, including Greenpeace, to address their destructive forestry operations and forge a sustainable and collaborative path forward,” he said.

Greenpeace’s defense in this case is ironic, given the group’s decision last year to urge the Justice Department to investigate ExxonMobil for supposedly misleading shareholders and the public about the risks of climate change.

Several attorneys general launched a climate RICO investigation more than a year ago targeting Exxon’s climate record. New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman lobbed a subpoena against Exxon last year for the company’s reports and communications about climate change, while the oil company used the First Amendment to defend itself.

Schneiderman’s investigation was based on reports from liberal-leaning media outlets InsideClimate News and Columbia University, which claim Exxon has known the risks of global warming for decades but kept such knowledge under wraps.

Greenpeace jumped on board the Exxon crusade shortly after Schneiderman began pursuing the company.

“Exxon created and funded a colossal climate denial operation to protect its profits instead of doing something to prevent the biggest crisis of our generation,” the group noted in a blog post announcing its support for the Exxon probe.

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