Oklahoma Sierra Club

Explore, enjoy and protect the planet!

Chapter Facts

Mission Statement

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 those objectives.

Chapter Successes

  • 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 Page

  • 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.

  • The Oklahoma 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.

  • Sierra Club 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 endangered habitat.

  • 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 in 1993.

  • 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.

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