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OKC Sierra Club launches yearly lobby day for members

John Marshall / Red Dirt Report
klahoma City Sierra Club Director Johnson Bridgwater hands out books to fellow environmentalists at the State Capitol on Wednesday.
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OKLAHOMA CITY-- Around 15 volunteers met at the State Capitol today to participate in the Sierra Club’s annual lobby day to encourage state legislators to do more to promote sustainable energy.

Led by Oklahoma City Sierra Club Director Johnson Bridgwater, the group received a basic lesson about past legislation that has impacted the issues the Sierra Club supports.

Bridgwater talked about Senate Bill 1456 from last year’s session. He described how devastating this was to several Oklahoma solar energy businesses.

During the meeting, he described how this year 8,000 wind energy jobs were created following legislative incentives. Efforts have been underway to curtail the job creating subsidies that have put Oklahoma as the number three wind energy producer.

Bridgwater talked about how the Sierra Club has been lobbying the Oklahoma Legislature since 1999. He described a yearly effort to educate citizens to realize that lobbying is not a special art that only paid people can do. “It is actually something that anyone can do, if you can speak and you have an opinion you can be a lobbyist,” Bridgwater said.

Bridgwater broke the group into teams of two to distribute information to State House and Senate members after the meeting. He reminded the volunteers that the State Capital is the people’s building and the people who are in this building are here at the behest of all Oklahomans.

He went on to explain to Red Dirt Report how the Sierra Club follows all environmental bills. Until this session, they were the only organization lobbying full-time and tracking all legislation that impacts Oklahoma’s environment.

Bridgwater went on to explain, “There are always some bills that we support and some that we are opposed to and the bottom line is to bring those bills to the public’s attention and also ally with organizations who don’t have this ability.”

Both Vonceil Harmon and Daniel Buckner left the meeting as a group and visited House Speaker Charles McCall (R-Atoka) and handed their information to his legislative assistant who thanked them and assuring that Speaker McCall would get the information.

Daniel Buckner, a renewable energy major at the University of Oklahoma, noted how informative the day was and showed him what Oklahoma is up against as far as renewable energy. Buckner also talked about how solar could be a viable option in the future.

Vonceil Harmon also talked about how the state of Oklahoma has not fully investigated what sustainable energy industry in this state would do. She is also eager for the next legislative session and hopes to introduce bills that will allow Oklahoma to be more economically stable and allow it to participate in the emerging industry of sustainable energy.

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John Marshall

John Marshall is a videographer and new addition to Red Dirt Report. As he told us: I am...

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About Red Dirt Report

Red Dirt Report was launched July 4, 2007 as an independent news website covering all manner of news, culture, entertainment and lifestyle stories that affect and interest Oklahoma readers and readers outside of our state. Our mission is to educate, promote civic engagement and discourse on public policy, government and politics. Our experienced journalists provided balanced in-depth coverage of news stories that affect Oklahomans. Our opinion/editorial stories come from a wide range of political view points. We carry out our mission by reporting, writing, and posting news and information. read more

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