The American Civil Liberties Union has sued on behalf of two environmental activists who claim a lawyer with the state utilities regulating agency filed a baseless complaint against them as retaliation for their protests.

The federal lawsuit contends former Kansas Corporation Commission Deputy General Counsel Dustin Kirk filed a bogus consumer protection complaint last year against activists Cindy Hoedel and Scott Yeargain.

Kirk’s complaint said the activists’ protests against injection wells and associations with other concerned citizens constituted an unauthorized practice of law.  Kirk could not be reached for comment.

The commission declined to comment on the lawsuit. Its spokeswoman says Kirk left the agency a year ago and it did not learn about his complaint to the Kansas attorney general’s office until after he had left.

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