Environmental groups being sued by the developer of the Dakota Access pipeline have asked a federal judge to dismiss the lawsuit.
Greenpeace and BankTrack argue in court documents that their opposition to the $3.8 billion project to move North Dakota oil to Illinois is protected free speech, not an illegal effort to undermine the developer.
Texas-based Energy Transfer Partners in August filed a lawsuit against Greenpeace, BankTrack and Earth First. The company alleges they disseminated false and misleading information about the Dakota Access project, interfered with its construction and damaged the company's reputation and finances through illegal acts.
The lawsuit seeks damages that could approach $1 billion.
Attorneys for Greenpeace and BankTrack in court documents filed Tuesday argue that the lawsuit is without merit and an attack on free speech.