N E W S L E T T E R
NOVEMBER 2016
Churches and society are confronted by many issues such as poverty, the environment, immigration, education, health, and criminal justice. By working together, individuals, churches, and communities can share information, organize efforts, and share resources. The OCC Social Justice Ministry Network gives us a vitally important tool enabling us to do this.


How does it work? Each representative is kept informed by OCC of important issues, including the work of the OCC  
IMPACT 
Committee as it tracks Oklahoma legislation. Where appropriate, we will produce relevant statements and recommend responsible action. Network representatives will then determine how best to disseminate this information to members of their own congregation and other interested persons. To join the Social Justice Ministry Network, send an e-mail to SJMN@okchurches.org.
 
Click on the embedded links in the paragraphs below for more in-depth information on each topic.

The OCC targets the following environmental advocacy issues as a part of its  Theological Statement on the Environment :
  • Energy conservation measures and the development of alternative renewable and clean-energy resources.
  • Measures that assist the cleanup of polluted air, water, and soil; support for policies that develop and test safe alternatives to chemicals used for growing, processing, and preserving food.
  • Policies that serve to: reduce and control the creation of harmful industrial, agricultural and municipal byproducts and waste; facilitate the safe processing and disposal of toxic waste, while moving toward its elimination; and provide for and encourage appropriate recycling.
  • Measures designed to maintain and restore natural ecosystems.
  • Measures which seriously address global climate change.
  • Measures to eliminate human-induced seismicity from wastewater injection wells.
  • Addressing these critical issues: water quality and conservation; energy conservation and clean energy alternatives; wildlife and wild spaces conservation; soil conservation; air quality; urban sprawl; and recycling.
Environmental Advocacy truly begins at home. Practicing conservation of water, recyclable products, soil, wind, and sun are all part of everyday practices. It extends into our faith organizations' practices, and in governmental responses at all levels. OCC has established a Committee on the Environment to strengthen all aspects of caring for the environment. SJMN targets attention to governmental issues in conjunction with the work of this Committee.


LOOKING TOWARD THE 2017 OKLAHOMA LEGISLATIVE SESSION

Senate Bill 1456
passed in 2014, modified prohibitions relating to recovery of fixed costs from electric customers utilizing distribute
generation. An unexpected negative outcome resulted as solar comp anies e ager to do business in Oklahoma chose to wait. There is interest in correcting the parts of the bill that led to the hesitation of solar energy businesses.

Dealing with wastewater from oil and gas wells' development will continue to be a concern next year. Reducing the number of earthquakes is a major driver regarding wastewater. How handling of wastewater might affect the purity and adequacy of our water supply is also a consideration.

OCC will provide information on submitted legislation when it becomes available. The deadline for requesting drafting of house bills and joint resolutions is December 9, 2016 and the deadline for Introduction of House Bills and Joint Resolutions is January 19, 2017. OCC will provide information on submitted legislation when it becomes available.

KEEPING IN THE KNOW

If you are baffled by the issues related to the environment or if you just want to
learn from shared interests, there are resources available. Check out and "like"  OCC's Facebook page on the environment.  

In 2013 the National Council of Churches of Christ USA Eco-Justice Program was spun off into a separate organization, Creation Justice Ministries that contains all types of help regarding the various facets of the environment as they relate to faith. If you are interested in finding out what your specific faith group is doing about the environment, go to the Creation Justice web page Members and Partners for a long list of resources, which also enables us to learn from each other.

OKLAHOMA CONFERENCE OF CHURCHES
301 N.W. 36th Street, Oklahoma City, OK 73118
www.okchurches.org    |  405-525-2928 
The Rev. Dr. William Tabbernee, Executive Director