Medium: Lawsuits Stifle Environmental Opposition

Environmental activists strive to delay development of sensitive lands. In turn, development firms rely on courts to stop the interference. Maggie Hurchalla, 77, opposed development of 2200 acres of sugarcane fields near Lake Okeechobee and pollution described as the source of red tide outbreaks along Florida’s coasts. Her activism focused on public water supplies and storage and transfer of polluted water; the company claimed her activism ended contracts worth billions. Writing for Medium, Rebecca Renner writes about Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation: “Though SLAPP is a subjective term and not a legal designation, those who know what to look for can recognize a SLAPP suit almost immediately: excessive, over-the-top claims against individuals voicing seemingly legitimate grievances.” A similar lawsuit was filed to end protests against the Dakota Access Pipeline crossing Native America land. “Most people lack the funds or the fortitude to stand up to corporate lawyers, and many balk, apologizing and retracting their statements to avoid months or years of emotionally and financially draining litigation.” Companies can target reporter questions, online reviews and citizen requests for public records. A Greenpeace spokesperson describes the lawsuits as a tactic to silence opposition on corporate wrongdoings. The Public Participation Project maintains that lawsuits targeting free speech threaten democracy. – YaleGlobal

Medium: Lawsuits Stifle Environmental Opposition

Corporations can use US courts to silence activists – including a 77-year-old sister of a former US attorney general who protested pollution of Florida lake
Rebecca Renner
Monday, October 29, 2018

Read the article from Medium about lawsuits that silence environmental protests.

See how US states rank on SLAPP laws Public Participation Project.

Rebecca Renner is a book reviewer, journalist and fiction writer with articles published by the Atlantic, the Washington Post and many other places.

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