Oklahoma

(information last updated Fall 2017)

Ongoing Projects:

State Program:

The Oklahoma Conservation Commission (OCC) is required to “[a]dminister the Blue Thumb Program,” Okla. Stat. tit. 27a, § 3-2-106(A)(29), which is a “nonpoint source educational program emphasizing water quality education, including volunteer monitoring[.]”  Okla. Stat. tit. 27a, § 3-1-103(18).

 

“The primary goal of this program is to educate Oklahoma[ns] . . . about [non-point source] pollution, pollution prevention, and stream health.”  Okla. Admin. Code 155:40-1-5.  “The program is designed to recruit, educate, train, and equip volunteer groups across the state to monitor streams of local interest.”  Id.  Its activities include “volunteer monitor training sessions, data management analysis and presentation, maintenance and distribution of water quality monitoring kits and supplies, quality assurance sessions, provision of educational materials for loan, and distribution of curb-marking supplies.”  Id.

Collection of Information:

Ag-Gag Law:

“A. No person shall, without the effective consent of the owner and with intent to damage the enterprise conducted at the animal facility:

. . .

     3. Enter an animal facility, not open to the public, with intent to commit an act prohibited by this section;

     4. Enter an animal facility and commit or attempt to commit an act prohibited by this section;

     5. Remain concealed in an animal facility, with intent to commit or attempt to commit an act prohibited by this section;

     6. Enter or remain on an animal facility when the person has notice that entry is forbidden by any of the following:

          a. written or oral communication with the owner or a person with apparent authority to act for the owner,

          b. fencing or other enclosure obviously designed to exclude intruders or contain animals, or

          c. a sign or signs posted on the property or at the entrance to the building” Okla. Stat. tit. 21, § 1680.2.

Trespass Laws:

Criminal Liability for Trespass Despite Lack of Notice:

No.  In order for entry upon property to constitute criminal trespass, such entry must have been “expressly forbidden[,]” or made “without permission by the owner or lawful occupant . . . when such property [was] posted” with signs forbidding entry.  Okla. Stat. tit. 21, § 1835.  “Property that is fenced or not fenced must have such signs placed conspicuously and at all places where entry to the property is normally expected.”  Id.

Other Provisions:

Trespass against “private land of another that is primarily devoted to farming, ranching, or forestry” carries a heightened penalty.  Okla. Stat. tit. 21, § 1835.2.

 

See supra “Ag-Gag Law.”

Stalking Laws:

Criminal Law:

“Any person who willfully, maliciously, and repeatedly follows or harasses another person in a manner that:

    1. Would cause a reasonable person or a member of the immediate family of that person as defined in subsection F of this section to feel frightened, intimidated, threatened, harassed, or molested; and

    2. Actually causes the person being followed or harassed to feel terrorized, frightened, intimidated, threatened, harassed, or molested, shall, upon conviction, be guilty of the crime of stalking, which is a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment in a county jail for not more than one (1) year, or by a fine of not more than One Thousand Dollars ($1,000.00), or by both such fine and imprisonment.”  Okla. Stat. tit. 21, § 1173.

 

 

Use of Information:

Although our research is incomplete, these provisions could be construed to allow the use of information collected by citizens.

Explicitly Allows:

“For the purpose of submitting compliance certifications or establishing whether or not a person has violated or is in violation of any provision of the Oklahoma [Clean Air Act] implementation plan, nothing shall preclude the use, including the exclusive use, of any credible evidence or information, relevant to whether a source would have been in compliance with applicable requirements[.]”  Okla. Admin. Code § 252:100-43-6.  “Credible evidence” is not defined.

Explicitly Allows:

OCC manages a volunteer program that monitors nonpoint source water pollution.  See supra “Ongoing Projects.”  Among other things, OCC uses the program to “provide[] support to cities to help meet the requirements of their Phase II stormwater permits[,]” Okla. Admin. Code §155:40-1-5(7), and targets areas “where volunteer data indicate a need.”  Okla. Admin. Code § 155:40-1-5(6).

Evidentiary Standards:

Pleading a Claim:

Requires certification that “[t]he allegations and other factual contentions have evidentiary support or, if specifically so identified, are likely to have evidentiary support after a reasonable opportunity for further investigation or discovery.”  Okla. Stat. tit. 12, § 2011.

Authentication or Chain of Custody:

“The requirement of authentication or identification as a condition precedent to admissibility is satisfied by evidence sufficient to support a finding that the matter in question is what its proponent claims it to be.”  Okla. Stat. tit. 12, § 2901.

Expert Testimony:

Daubert standard.  See Christian v. Gray, 65 P.3d 591, 600 (Okla. 2003).

Discussion

Please note that this discussion is not moderated by the Emmett Environmental Law & Policy Clinic.