By Darla Shelden
City Sentinel Reporter
OKLAHOMA CITY – The Oklahoma Chapter of Sierra Club recently published its 2020 Oklahoma Environmental Legislative Scorecard. The report highlights legislation of greatest importance to the overall protection and management of Oklahoma’s air, land and water, while also focusing on any legislation that impacts Oklahoma’s response to climate change, according to Johnson Bridgwater, director of the Oklahoma Chapter of Sierra Club.
The scorecard also offers an overview of the last legislative session, including a brief review of the annual state budget, noting how Covid-19 has impacted the session.
Bridgwater contends that the scorecard points out that the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality (ODEQ) was singularly negatively impacted by state budget cuts. ODEQ was hit by a 10 percent budget cut, whereas most other agencies received a 4 percent cut.
“I think people have this idea that Oklahoma Sierra Club is just a mouthpiece for the larger national Sierra Club organization, but that is just not the case,” said Bridgwater.
“This scorecard is proof of that,” he added. “The Oklahoma Chapter of Sierra Club is fully focused on state and local issues, and we are the only environmental organization in Oklahoma employing a full-time state lobbyist to make sure the voices and concerns of our more than 4,200 Oklahoma members are shared with legislators and state and local officials.”
While the overall trend in the Oklahoma legislature regarding final letter grades for Senators and Representatives falls largely on the C/D/F side, this year’s scorecard did produce an uptick in legislators receiving an A+, indicating a perfect voting record in line with Oklahoma Sierra Club’s issues and concerns, according to Bridgwater.
The full report is available for reading or to download online at the Oklahoma Sierra Club website.
The Oklahoma Sierra Club Chapter has members in 72 of Oklahoma’s 77 counties, which is comprised of constituents from almost every legislative district. The organization maintains a Legislative Committee and relies on the efforts of its numerous volunteer members to help in its political efforts each session.
The Sierra Club Oklahoma Chapter offers members and non-members lobby training each year. To get involved or for more information, visit sierraclub.org/oklahoma.