ACOG Board Votes To Oppose SQ 777
The Board of Directors of the Association of Central Oklahoma Governments (ACOG) has approved a resolution by 16-3 vote, opposing the Oklahoma Right To Farm, State Question 777. Eighteen members were not present for the vote. ACOG, like all councils of governments, operates under a weighted voting system.
According to John G. Johnson, Executive Director, the ballot measure is a proposed amendment to the Oklahoma Constitution. If it passes it will prevent legislators from enacting any law that abridges the right of farmers and ranchers to employ agricultural technology and livestock production and ranching practices without a compelling state interest.
SQ 777 will appear on the Oklahoma ballot November 8.
WHEREAS, access to clean, high-quality potable water in appropriate quantities is a primary right of the Association of Central Oklahoma Governments members (hereinafter referred to as ACOG); and
WHEREAS, preservation of soil and air quality are equally valuable to ACOG members; and
WHEREAS, ensuring these elements for its residents and businesses is the pre-eminent obligation of ACOG members; and
WHEREAS, SQ 777 would compromise ACOG members’ ability to provide an ample and safe water supply to its residents at reasonable expense; and
WHEREAS, providing these benefits and infrastructure to its residents, and maintaining them, is an on-going and ever-increasing financial burden for ACOG members; and
WHEREAS, a core function of ACOG members, as allowed by Title 11 Oklahoma Statues Section 43, is to regulate land usage and zoning according to community desires and needs, through community-based processes and zoning ordinances, while protecting property rights of all citizens, and planning for the successful growth and development of ACOG members; and
WHEREAS, the proposed amendments to the Oklahoma Constitution provided in SQ 777 provide protection for a specific group of residents and industry provided to no other group or industry in the State of Oklahoma, at the expense of all other residents and industry; and
WHEREAS, SQ 777 would take precedence over the ordinances, regulations and plans of ACOG members, compromising their ability and obligation to protect the health, safety and welfare of its residents; and
WHEREAS, SQ 777 would compromise the ability of the State of Oklahoma, its regulatory agencies, and ACOG members to take action to manage technology that impacts industrial, farming and ranching operations potentially harmful to its residents; and
WHEREAS, guaranteeing access to high-quality and ample quantity of water, and efficient and appropriate delivery systems, under the provisions of SQ 777, could result in extensive and expensive litigation on the part of ACOG members; and
WHEREAS, passage of SQ 777 could result in increased expenses in providing high-quality and ample water as a result of agricultural runoff, chemical treatment, and animal by-products; and
WHEREAS, SQ 777 would allow special consideration of one industry (‘farming’) that could set a precedent for allowing similar special considerations for any and all industries and practices in Oklahoma; and
WHEREAS, SQ 777 provides that this special consideration is guaranteed ‘forever,’ which precludes consideration of any unforeseen practices, treatments, or chemicals, on the obligations and ability of the State of Oklahoma and ACOG members to provide to their residents an ample quantity of high-quality water at a reasonable rate and manageable expense.
Now therefore be it resolved that the ACOG Board of Directors oppose State Question 777 as a threat to ACOG members’ ability to meet the needs and requirements of its residents and provide for their health, safety and welfare.
ACOG is one of 11 Councils of Government in Oklahoma. Enacted through federal legislation in 1966, its board is comprised of elected officials from more than 40 cities, towns and counties that comprise Central Oklahoma.
ACOG board members who voted for the resolution against SQ 777 include:
ACOG board members who voted against the resolution against SQ 777 include:
Absent During Voting
ACOG board members either not presented or who recused themselves from voting included:
ACOG houses a variety of programs and programs that support the region including improved air and water quality. These include:
- The Metropolitan Planning Organization for Central Oklahoma which provides transportation planning and services to the region;
- 9-1-1 ACOG which implements, administers and coordinates the operation of the regional Enhanced 9-1-1 emergency communication service in Central Oklahoma;
- The Garber-Wellington Association, an association of the local governments who help develop the resources of the aquifer and the alluvial aquifer systems.
- Management of the Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy for the federally designated Economic Development District;
- Central Oklahoma Clean Cities, an alternative fuel vehicle and air quality program;
- Numerous grant programs including Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) and the Rural Economic Action Plan (REAP).