As the California wildfires spread without containment and thousands of families are forced to evacuate, other families along the Texas Gulf Coast, the Florida Keys, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands are still recovering months after natural disasters impacted their own communities. Our infrastructure, energy system, emergency services, and government were hardly prepared for so many natural disasters in succession. That is why it is more important than ever that we commit to 100% clean, sustainable energy with the OFF Act.
Climate scientists, activists, Native communities, lawmakers, and others involved in the climate fight face significant impediments to action at present. Scott Pruitt is working to undermine the Environmental Protection Agency’s core mission from within. Congressional Republicans are working out the details of a tax bill that would cut funding for wind and solar energy, two of the fastest growing energy sources in the country, while continuing giveaways to the oil, coal, and natural gas industries. And in the face of President Trump’s negligent attitude towards climate change, President Macron of France is offering our top climate scientists grants to research in France for the duration of Trump’s time in office. We cannot afford brain drain of our most skilled climate researchers in a competitive global economy, which is why it’s all the more important for us to embrace a massive shift to clean energy now.
While American scientists are given offers to conduct their research in foreign countries, we are also witnessing strains put on the workforce of emergency responders handling disaster mitigation and recovery efforts. This problem will only get worse if we continue to do nothing. As the California wildfires continue to rage without containment, inmates from California and Nevada prisons are fighting fires for $1 an hour, risking their lives to preserve neighborhoods and businesses from Mother Nature. It is important to recognize the courage and prevailing aspiration to do good within all human beings, even those who are incarcerated. (I will continue to fight for common sense criminal justice reform and a just transition back into civilian life that reduces recidivism, reunites families, and allows people to work for fair wages and live fulfilling, productive lives).
The old ways of business-as-usual are no longer safe or acceptable. A chemical plant in Texas exploded after losing power in Hurricane Harvey, burning toxic chemicals into the atmosphere. Oil and gas pipelines are exploding in the path of the California wildfires. The risk of continuing our dangerous reliance on fossil fuels is literally blowing up in our face. We must commit to a new path that ends the subsidies for the fossil fuel industry, puts an immediate end to the construction of new fossil fuel projects, and invests in wind, solar, and other renewables. In this manner, we can lower utility bills, increase our energy independence, and guarantee clean water and a clean environment to future generations. Please join me in supporting the Off Fossil Fuels for a Better Future Act (H.R. 3671) to forge that path to 100% renewable energy by 2035.
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