Sierra Club Named Most Influential Environmental Organization

News Release from Sierra Club National Office

WASHINGTON, DC - An independent survey has named the Sierra Club the most influential environmental organization in Washington. The study, released by the Aspen Institute Nonprofit Sector Research Fund, asked every member of Congress and key federal officials to "name the (two) national nonprofit organizations that you believe have the most influence on federal policy" in each of six issue areas. On environmental issues, the survey named the Sierra Club and the National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB) as the two most influential organizations, with the Sierra Club receiving more than double the number of responses than NFIB - and nearly three times as many as the next environmental group, the Environmental Defense Fund.

What is equally pleasing is that both Republicans and Democrats rated us as most effective. While we were cited 64 times, other organizations that vastly outspend us were mentioned far fewer times. The Chamber of Commerce had 21 mentions, the National Association of Manufacturers 13, and the Citizens for a Sound Economy - our opponents on the Environmental Protection Agency’s new clean-air standards, which were being debated at the time of the survey - just 12.

"This survey result is a tribute to the 550,000 members of the Sierra Club who give us the political clout to influence policy makers," said Carl Pope, the Sierra Club’s Executive Director. "Policy makers listen to the Sierra Club because we represent their constituents and the vast majority of Americans who believe in strong environmental protections."

The survey comes as the Sierra Club is broadening its grassroots and media efforts to educate the public, on environmental issues, Administrative policy actions and Congressional votes. The organization has shifted 80% of the resources once spent on lobbying in Washington to grassroots organizing and public education in communities across America. The Sierra Club operates on the principle that the simplest way to push for stronger environmental standards is to give the public the information and the means to make their voices heard.

"This survey shows that the way to have clout in the Beltway is by addressing the concerns that people have about local issues like the air their children breathe and the water they drink," added Pope. "It’s a good sign for our democracy that grassroots organizations like the Sierra Club are able to translate the basic American value of a healthy environment into real influence in the nation’s Capitol."

The Sierra Club is the nation’s oldest and largest grassroots environmental organization, with 550,000 members in 65 chapters and 408 groups nationwide. These individuals are using grassroots activism and community action to protect America’s environment, for our families, for our future.

For more information: You can find the Aspen Institute’s full report at www.aspeninst.org/dir/polpro/nsrf/enpatoc.html.