Pipeline Company Issues Broad Subpoena to News Site That Covered Protests Against It
by Alleen Brown and Sam Richards
Posted April 6, 2021
Last week, members of the nonprofit news organization Unicorn Riot received a subpoena from the pipeline giant Energy Transfer seeking a wide range of documents, including newsgathering materials that would identify sources. The subpoena is part of an aggressive, yearslong legal effort launched by Energy Transfer in the wake of the Standing Rock movement, when thousands of opponents of the corporation’s Dakota Access pipeline came to camps at the border of the Standing Rock Sioux reservation in an attempt to stop pipeline construction and protect the tribe’s drinking water from contamination.
Through a series of expensive conspiracy lawsuits against a disparate range of actors, the pipeline company has sought to paint the Standing Rock movement as the product of a vast misinformation-driven conspiracy to damage Energy Transfer.
Now, as part of that effort, Energy Transfer is demanding Unicorn Riot turn over virtually any documents, video footage, audio, article drafts, and communications related to the firm and its pipeline. The subpoena also sought information about the nonprofit’s organizational structure, social media accounts, and names of employees, volunteers, and supporters. Niko Georgiades, who was among the Unicorn Riot reporters covering Standing Rock, was separately subpoenaed. More…