Tulsi Gabbard: We Must Pass The OFF Act to Protect Our People and Planet

From California wildfires that have reduced entire neighborhoods to ash, to the US Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico, where people are still suffering over a month after a catastrophic hurricane, to 672,000 gallons of oil being dumped into the Gulf of Mexico from a burst pipeline, it has never been more clear that we must rid our country of its dangerous addiction to fossil fuels. This crisis facing our country is serious and will only worsen the longer it continues to go unchecked.

That’s why I introduced the Off Fossil Fuels for a Better Future Act (H.R. 3671), a bill that would transition the United States away from our dependence on fossil fuels to 100% renewable energy by 2035. This legislation will not only eliminate tax breaks for the fossil fuels industry, but it will also provide workers with the resources and support they need to become a part of our new clean energy economy. The OFF Act will increase our competitiveness by investing in clean energy technologies, creating jobs, and providing resources and training programs to ensure our new skilled workforce is the best it can be.

As my team and I collaborated with labor groups, environmental experts, leaders from climate justice organizations, the business sector, and more, we heard how encouraged they were by the inclusive process we used to develop this strong and comprehensive bill. Many of them had been ignored by lawmakers in the past and were never given a seat at the table. The voices and recommendations of these experts and activists who have dedicated their lives to protecting our environment and defeating climate change must be heard.

Disadvantaged communities are among the most vulnerable to climate change. Look no further than the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe of North Dakota, whose people, precious water resources, and land have been threatened by the Dakota Access Pipeline since its inception. By passing the OFF Act, this community and so many others will find relief from the environmental threats they face every single day. With this legislation, we have an incredible opportunity to improve the health and wellbeing of our people and the planet by eliminating the toxic pollutants that cause asthma, respiratory illnesses, and irreversible damage to the land, the water, and the life they sustain.

We are long overdue for taking the critical steps outlined in the Off Act, and we must act fast to address the climate crisis before us. We don’t have time to wait for half-hearted attempts that seek to placate the fossil fuels industry on the backs of the American people and future generations.

Yesterday, I gathered with colleagues, environmental leaders like Food & Water Watch, activists, and grassroots organizers calling for action. We stood together for the millions of Americans devastated by the recent onslaught of natural disasters that wreaked havoc across our country and took people’s homes, their possessions, and even loved ones. We spoke strongly for the sake of our planet, Mother Earth, who we have neglected and abused.

We can no longer turn a blind eye to the need for reformative legislation that changes the trajectory of this destructive trend. Let’s care for the land and water, heal our cherished planet, and promote wellness for all of her people. Water is life. Let’s protect the natural resources that our lives depend upon.

With the endorsement and support of over 400 clean energy, climate change, and environmental justice organizations, the OFF Act’s momentum is building. Support is growing. More and more citizen cosponsors are joining the fight. I urge my colleagues to cosponsor H.R. 3671 for the sake of our people, our planet, and our future. The time to act is now.

Tulsi Gabbard has served as the U.S. Representative for Hawaii’s Second Congressional District since 2013. At the age of nineteen, she co-founded Healthy Hawai’i Coalition, a non-profit grassroots organization whose mission is to protect the environment and improve individual and community health. Tulsi has a proven record of defending our air, land, and water and has been endorsed by the Sierra Club, Ocean Champions, and League of Conservation Voters (which gave her a “lifetime” pro-environment score of 100%), among others. Tulsi has consistently voted against the keystone pipeline and other threats to the environment, while advocating for legislation that combats climate change, supports clean energy, and protects the planet.