To explore, enjoy and protect the planet. To
practice and promote the responsible use of the earth's ecosystems and
resources; to educate and enlist humanity to protect and restore the quality
of the natural and human environment; and to use all lawful means to carry out
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The Sierra Club and meat producer Seaboard
Farms reached a cleanup agreement that resolves water pollution problems with
technology and conservation. This settlement represents one of the largest
solutions-oriented agreements ever reached between an environmental group and
an animal production company. For more info,
see the press release.
In 2001 and 2002, the Chapter worked early
and often to derail the sale of Oklahoma water to Texas. Selling water would
have required the building of additional dams in SE Oklahoma, where many of
the residents don’t have access to filtered city water themselves.
Additionally, the city of Dallas uses twice as much water per person as
Oklahoma City or Tulsa. The plan to sell the water, which was spearheaded by
the Governor, was canceled after public outcry, but behind the scenes activity
is still taking place, you can be sure that the club is watching. For
more info, see the Texas Water Sale Main
Sierra Club brought a successful lawsuit requiring an
Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the proposed Flint Ridge development on
the Illinois River. At a time when EISs were a new public interest tool, the
chapter won successful appeals all the way to the United States Supreme Court.
The Chapter intervened in the public’s behalf
at the Oklahoma Corporation Commission proceedings against licensing of the
proposed Black Fox Nuclear Power Plant near Inola, Oklahoma.
The Club prepared
a comprehensive environmental impact review and an economic review of the
proposed Water Transfer Plan, a scheme to build a pipeline and series of pump
stations to move water from southeastern to northwestern Oklahoma. These
reviews led to the plan being scrapped because of its infeasibility.
Sierra Club worked
actively with the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) to become a participant in
developing and revising the Ouachita National Forest Management Plan. A
ten-year review began in 1996 with Sierra Club still a public participant.
Chapter helped draft the 1987 Oklahoma Wilderness Bill, known as the Winding
Stair Bill. That same year, the Club helped found and organize the Ouachita
Watch League (OWL), a forestry oversight group still working today to promote
public education about one of Oklahoma’s great natural resources.
embarked on a public education campaign in support of Congressional
legislation adding Oklahoma’s Tallgrass Prairie to the National Parks System.
Although the legislation failed, enough public interest had been generated
that The Nature Conservancy succeeded in purchasing and protecting this
The Club lobbied
tirelessly for many years to create the Oklahoma Department of Environmental
Quality (DEQ) as well as working pro-actively in the development of the DEQ’s
design, scope and mission. The DEQ was finally established as a State Agency
Early in 1997, The
Oklahoma Chapter became actively involved in the fight against the rapid
expansion of Confined Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) in Oklahoma. National
Sierra Club provided funding for public education on this topic, thus a CAFO
Comments newsletter, regional conference and CAFO website have been produced.
Legislatively, we have worked in partnership with the Oklahoma Family Farm
Alliance to pass stringent legislation for these corporate animal factories.
We are partnering with sustainable agriculture groups to promote product
purchases from family farms.
Starting in 1999,
combating urban sprawl became a national and state priority. These efforts
have focused primarily at the local level where smart growth alternatives have
been promoted by member involvement in public meetings and on community
governmental committees. The Club sponsored or organized several workshops on
urban sprawl and smart growth in the state during 2000-2001. In 2002, we are
working to promote the use of conservation easements for land protection.
During 2001 and 2002, the Oklahoma
Chapter has fought for water quality protection and improvement, particularly
focusing on poultry pollution in northeastern Oklahoma. In this regard, we
have mounted a campaign to include numeric phosphorus standards in Oklahoma’s
Water Quality Standards. We are also working to halt out-of-state water sales
negotiated behind closed doors.