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Marquette University Law School

Environmental Law

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The Prosecution Of Climate Change Dissent Oct 2017

The Prosecution Of Climate Change Dissent

Marquette Benefits and Social Welfare Law Review

A May 2015 op-ed in the Washington Post by Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D. RI) accused the fossil fuel industry of funding a campaign to mislead Americans about the environmental harm caused by carbon pollution. The Attorney Generals of New York and Massachusetts began investigating Exxon Mobil. We look at these two investigations through the lenses of the federal mail and wire fraud statutes (at issue in the racketeering case against big tobacco), and the First Amendment.

We analyze the difficulty of prosecuting someone under the federal mail and wire fraud statutes for expressing an opinion, and discuss why scientific statements ...