OFF Act press conference, Oct. 26, 2017. Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard / Flickr

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.

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."

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