Congresswomen and Environmental Groups Urge Congress to Pass the OFF Act to Combat Climate Change
Reps. Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02), Barbara Lee (CA-13) and Nanette Diaz Barragán (CA-44) joined Food & Water Watch, first responders, non-profit organizations and local government officials to urge Congress to pass H.R. 3671, the OFF Fossil Fuels for a Better Future Act (OFF Act) to transition the U.S. to a 100 percent clean energy economy by 2035.
"Our country cannot passively standby while we watch the climate crisis devastate our planet and the livelihoods of working families across the country and the world," said Gabbard, who introduced the bill. "It is our obligation to protect the most vulnerable in our society, to protect our planet, to grow the economy and rebuild America's infrastructure with a stable, domestic clean energy economy."
Gabbard's bill prioritizes the health and wellbeing of the country and the future of the planet by tackling the climate change crisis head on and building on the progress of states like Hawaii.
OFF Act Is a #Climate Game Changer https://t.co/WcElNuFu7k @foodandwater @TulsiGabbard @WenonahHauter— EcoWatch (@EcoWatch)1504793362.0
The OFF Act sets an ambitious timeline to end America's reliance on fossil fuels and avert the catastrophic effects of climate change that have exacerbated natural disasters like the recent hurricanes that devastated Texas, Louisiana, Florida, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands and deadly wildfires in California.
Without urgent action, climate change will continue to intensify and accelerate the pace of extreme weather events that devastate coastal and low-lying communities causing widespread unemployment, wage stagnation and deadly health problems, which disproportionately affect low-income, minority, Native Hawaiian and Native American families.
This legislation protects the country's most vulnerable populations from the harmful effects of carbon emissions and toxic chemicals that pollute America's air, land and waterways by strengthening civil rights protections, creating clean energy jobs, and prioritizing the safety and security of the planet above profits for major corporations and the fossil fuels industry.
"We cannot afford any more delays or half-measures in this climate crisis. It's time for bold action to address this emergency and save our planet, before it's too late," said Lee. "This bill is a critical roadmap for climate justice in Congress at the moment we need it the most."
Passing the OFF Act will increase America's global competitiveness by creating domestic clean technologies, jobs and training programs. In addition, this legislation will improve the health and wellbeing of the American people and our planet from toxic pollutants, asthma and respiratory illnesses, and environmental degradation.
"Our dependence on fossil fuels has created a public health crisis. In my district, children exposed to smoke and chemicals from oil and gas drilling operations are wearing asthma inhalers around their necks. It's heartbreaking to see," said Barragán. "This bill is about moving America forward and embracing the energy sources of the future. Getting off fossil fuels and moving to 100 percent renewable energy will help end this public health crisis and can create millions of good jobs."
The OFF Act has been cosponsored by 14 Members of Congress and has been endorsed by nearly four hundred clean energy, climate change and environmental justice organizations.
"The science is clear," said Wenonah Hauter, executive director of Food & Water Watch. "In order to avoid the most catastrophic effects of deepening climate chaos, we must break our foolish dependence on fossil fuels, and we must do it now. Fortunately, we have a solution. The OFF Act is the key to a livable future for all of us, and we are mobilizing from coast to coast to make it the law of the land."
New Zealand could be the first country in the world to require its major financial institutions to report on the risks posed by the climate crisis.
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By Brett Wilkins
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the meatpacking industry worked together to downplay and disregard risks to worker health during the Covid-19 pandemic, as shown in documents published Monday by Public Citizen and American Oversight.
<div id="13077" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="11b9fe5ff48ebc437353df6df9c2c892"><blockquote class="twitter-tweet twitter-custom-tweet" data-twitter-tweet-id="1305915938148147205" data-partner="rebelmouse"><div style="margin:1em 0">Just a week before the Trump administration issued an executive order aimed at keeping meat packing plants open, th… https://t.co/DkbXgPm4YR</div> — ProPublica (@ProPublica)<a href="https://twitter.com/propublica/statuses/1305915938148147205">1600189597.0</a></blockquote></div>
<div id="36e4c" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="e7c8048c2755109629a3b3072fcb3261"><blockquote class="twitter-tweet twitter-custom-tweet" data-twitter-tweet-id="1304424041814593539" data-partner="rebelmouse"><div style="margin:1em 0">Meatpacking union @UFCW, which reps workers at this plant (four of whom died), slams OSHA for the small $13k fine a… https://t.co/tnhfKd89ab</div> — Dave Jamieson (@Dave Jamieson)<a href="https://twitter.com/jamieson/statuses/1304424041814593539">1599833901.0</a></blockquote></div><p>The United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) International Union, which represents Smithfield Foods workers, <a href="https://www.argusleader.com/story/news/crime/2020/09/10/osha-fines-smithfield-foods-sioux-falls-south-dakota/5768786002/?eType=EmailBlastContent&eId=f7bf3f03-ce98-4df4-9c45-f44d9a6a5890" target="_blank">slammed</a> the fine as "insulting and a slap on the wrist."</p><p>"How much is the health, safety, and life of an essential worker worth? Based on the actions of the Trump administration, clearly not much," said UFCW president Marc Perrone.</p><p>"This so-called 'fine' is a slap on the wrist for Smithfield, and a slap in the face of the thousands of American meatpacking workers who have been putting their lives on the line to help feed America since the beginning of this pandemic," Perrone added. </p><p>Other critics, including vegans, vegetarians, and animal rights and environmental advocates argued that the accelerated spread of Covid-19 from meatpacking facilities is but the latest compelling argument in favor of reducing—or eliminating—meat consumption.</p><p>"We know that Covid-19 originated in a meat market and that previous influenza viruses originated in pigs and chickens," People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) <a href="https://www.peta.org/blog/meat-shortage-slaugherhouses-go-vegan/" target="_blank">said</a> in April amid news that a Foster Farms slaughterhouse in Livingston, California was <a href="https://www.peta.org/blog/coronavirus-covid-19-slaughterhouse-meat-concerns/?utm_source=PETA::Twitter&utm_medium=Social&utm_campaign=0420::veg::PETA::Twitter::Workers%20Blame%20Major%20Pig%20Slaughterhouse%20600%20Infected%20COVID-19::::tweet" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">ordered closed</a> by local health authorities due to a Covid-19 outbreak that killed eight employees.</p>
<div id="28490" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="48ddd3480a2beb42597d9516ef652f0f"><blockquote class="twitter-tweet twitter-custom-tweet" data-twitter-tweet-id="1252416495990140929" data-partner="rebelmouse"><div style="margin:1em 0">THIS IS OUTRAGEOUS! @SmithfieldFoods allegedly took NO PRECAUTIONS to protect the safety of its workers, leaving o… https://t.co/viAJ026pLy</div> — PETA (@PETA)<a href="https://twitter.com/peta/statuses/1252416495990140929">1587434336.0</a></blockquote></div><p>"It's not a matter of <em>whether</em> using and killing animals for food will give rise to another disease outbreak—it's a matter of <em>when</em>," said PETA. "There has never been a better, more obvious time for businesses to put an end to their dirty trade of slaughtering animals for their flesh." </p>
By Andrea Willige
More than half of the world's population lives in cities, and most future population growth is predicted to happen in urban areas. But the concentration of large numbers of people and the ecosystems built around their lives has also been a driver of climate change.