by Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard
The Nebraska Public Service Commission just voted to approve construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline, but the fight does not end here.
Nebraska state law prevented the commission from taking last week’s 210,000-gallon spill from Keystone in South Dakota into account, or from considering the impact that Keystone XL would have on the health and safety of the community. That is absurd, and yet another way that the fossil fuel industry has rigged the rules in their favor.
There will be more legal challenges to come, and they will all center around one indisputable fact: there is no such thing as a safe pipeline. We still have the power to stop Keystone XL.
Opposition to the Keystone XL Pipeline has brought together a diverse grassroots coalition. Farmers, ranchers, Native Americans, scientists, students, environmental activists, and more have organized to defend their land, water, and community from this calamitous fossil fuel project.
This coalition runs across the political spectrum and is founded upon the principles of environmental stewardship and that this land belongs to us, not the fossil fuel industry.
Fighting to protect our environment is not a partisan pursuit – it is the duty of all Americans to ensure a future that is sustainable for ourselves and the generations to come.
It is no secret that the Trump administration and Scott Pruitt’s EPA are working overtime to undo the environmental regulations that keep us safe. They are willing to rubber-stamp approval for virtually any project.
This was the case when Administrator Pruitt reversed course on years’ of EPA study into Bristol Bay, Alaska by signaling his approval for a mining operation the size of the Grand Canyon – just after taking a half hour meeting with the mining company’s CEO.
It is also the case now. Keystone XL threatens the Ogallala Aquifer, which provides clean drinking water to millions of people across the Great Plains.
The most recent spill, which occurred only miles from the Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate’s Lake Traverse Indian Reservation, was hardly even detected despite TransCanada’s claims that these pipelines are safe.
The Dakota Access Pipeline has also sprung several leaks in the year since thousands of Water Protectors came together at Standing Rock to oppose its construction. Oil in our groundwater is poison. We cannot allow the possibility that it will be contaminated.
Nebraska’s decision should send a signal to anyone who is concerned about clean water, sustainability, and the health of our environment. The forces of greed will continue to rig the system in their favor unless we do something to stop them.
I’ve introduced the Off Fossil Fuels for a Better Future Act (H.R. 3671) to end our dangerous reliance on fossil fuels and move the United States towards energy independence. By taking the $14 billion that subsidizes the fossil fuel industry and reinvesting that in clean energy, we can create millions of new jobs.
Providing a just transition for fossil fuel workers and moving swiftly to renewable energy is the only viable option we have to preserve our environment and avoid the worst effects of climate change. We can reach 80% renewable energy in the next 10 years and derive 100% of our energy from renewables by 2035, but we must demonstrate the collective will to act.
Stopping Keystone XL, the Dakota Access Pipeline, and other fossil fuel projects is vital to the health of our people and our planet. Please sign your name as a citizen co-sponsor of the OFF Act and help us win even more support for this critical legislation.
Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard represents Hawaii’s Second Congressional District and she is sponsor of the OFF Act, which ends fossil fuel tax breaks and provides support to workers transitioning from to 100% renewable energy by 2035, with an interim goal of 80% by 2027. She is also the first and only Hindu American in the United States House of Representatives.
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