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Guide to the Sierra Club National Legislative Office Records, 1960-[on-going]
BANC MSS 71/289 c  
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Collection Summary
  • Information for Researchers
  • Administrative Information
  • Administrative History
  • Scope and Content

  • Collection Summary

    Collection Title: Sierra Club National Legislative Office Records,
    Date (inclusive): 1960-[on-going]
    Collection Number: BANC MSS 71/289 c
    Collector: Sierra Club. National Legislative Office.
    Extent: Number of containers: 163 cartons, 5 oversize folders, 1 tube Linear feet: 200
    Repository: The Bancroft Library.
    Berkeley, California 94720-6000
    Physical Location: For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the Library's online catalog.
    Languages Represented: English

    Information for Researchers


    Collection is open for research.

    Publication Rights

    Copyright has not been assigned to The Bancroft Library. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Head of Public Services. Permission for publication is given on behalf of The Bancroft Library as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the reader.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Sierra Club National Legislative Office Records, BANC MSS 71/289 c, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley.

    Related Collections

    • Sierra Club Records, BANC MSS 71/ 103 c
    • Sierra Club Members Papers, BANC MSS 71 /295 c
    • Sierra Club Legal Defense Fund Records, BANC MSS 71/296 c
    • Sierra Club Foundation Records, BANC MSS 89/230 c
    • Sierra Club International Program Records, BANC MSS 71/290 c
    • Sierra Club Mountain Registers and Records, BANC MSS 71/293 c
    • Sierra Club California Legislative Office Records, BANC MSS 91/1 c
    • Sierra Club San Francisco Bay Chapter Records, BANC MSS 71/291 c
    • Sierra Club Mother Lode Chapter Records, BANC MSS 71/292 c

    Material Cataloged Separately

    Photographs have been transferred to the Pictorial Collections of The Bancroft Library.
    Videotapes and sound recordings have been transferred to the Microforms Division of The Bancroft Library.
    Government Documents have been transferred to the Government Documents Department of Doe Library.

    Administrative Information

    Acquisition Information

    In 1990 the Board of Directors of the Sierra Club voted to place the club's historical records in The Bancroft Library. The Sierra Club National Legislative Office began transferring its records to The Bancroft Library in 1978 and continues to transfer groups of historical records in appropriate increments.


    The Sierra Club Records Project was made possible by a major grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission.

    Administrative History

    Although John Muir and Century Magazine editor Robert Underwood Johnson may be considered the Sierra Club's first lobbyists for their spirited battle against damming the Tuolumne River in Hetch Hetchy Valley, California, in the early twentieth century, the National Legislative Office traces its permanent beginnings to 1962. In that year, Executive Director David Brower urged the Sierra Club's Board of Directors to hire William Zimmerman, Jr., a former administrator in the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs and the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, as a part-time consultant in Washington, D.C. An office was established in the following year. Some of the significant conservation campaigns in the early years included efforts to establish North Cascades National Park in Washington state and Redwood National Park in California; support for the passage of the Wilderness Act and the Land and Water Conservation Fund, both in 1964; and the club's continuing crusade to keep dams out of Grand Canyon National Park.
    In 1967, after Zimmerman's death, conservation director Michael McCloskey selected Lloyd Tupling, formerly chief of staff for Senator Richard Neuberger, to head the office. The Tupling years were marked by continuing efforts to establish North Cascades and Redwood National Parks; initial club attempts to grapple with immensely complex public lands and Native American subsistence issues in Alaska; the passage of legislation to protect wild and scenic rivers (1968); and increased federal protection for Everglades National Park, Mineral King, California, and old-growth forests. By the end of Tupling's tenure in 1972, the Washington staff had grown to six members.
    Brock Evans, the Sierra Club's Northwest representative, was persuaded to leave Seattle in 1973 to succeed Tupling. Evans, trained as an attorney, brought valuable lobbying skills, honed in the campaigns to create North Cascades National Park and Hells Canyon National Recreation Area and to restrict clearcutting in the Pacific Northwest. He arrived on the Washington scene just in time to experience the panic induced by the Arab oil embargo of 1973 and to take part in protracted negotiations over wilderness preservation, embodied in the Roadless Area Review and Evaluation (RARE II) process.
    In the 1970s, the club's national issues were mostly those which would continue to be significant in the following decade: oil spill prevention and liability; the Clean Air Act; the designation of wilderness areas in the Eastern United States; and passage and implementation of such ground-breaking legislation as the U.S. Bureau of Land Management's Organic Act and the National Forest Management Act (both in 1976); the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act (1977); the Omnibus Parks Bill and Endangered American Wilderness Act (1978); the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (1980); and Superfund legislation (1980).
    When Brock Evans moved to the National Audubon Society staff in the mid-1980s, John McComb became director of the Washington office. He planned and compiled a database which increased the club's information-gathering capabilities and lobbying sophistication. The Sierra Club Committee on Political Education (SCCOPE) became actively nationally, and the club began to endorse local and national candidates for the first time.

    Scope and Content

    The Washington, D.C., office of the Sierra Club carries the principal responsibility for lobbying on legislation at the federal level. Records from this office reflect the Club's leadership in the drafting, enactment, and revision of laws, the implementation of which affect the environment in a favorable or an adverse manner.
    The collection is comprised of 162 cartons, 5 oversized folders and one tube, dating from 1960 to 1990, with the bulk of the collection dating from 1970 to 1980. There are two record series in this collection, described in the Series Description, which follows. By far the largest series is an alphabetically-arranged subject file. Correspondence, memoranda, testimony, drafts and summaries of legislation, fact sheets, press releases, notes, research materials, and news clippings are the most heavily represented genre types in the collection.
    Sierra Club's ongoing efforts to influence legislation concerning clean air and clean water, the protection of national parks, wilderness areas, and endangered species, and energy and water resources development are particularly well-documented in this collection. Other important issues and campaigns during the presidential administrations of Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, and Ronald Reagan include the Trans-Alaska Pipeline and proposed natural gas pipelines; the offshore oil industry and oil and gas leases on public lands; stripmining; the Roadless Area Review and Evaluation (RARE II) legislation; hazardous waste and Superfund legislation; and the controversial tenure of and successful effort to replace U.S. Secretary of the Interior James Watt.
    Staff persons represented in the collection include Washington office directors Lloyd Tupling, Brock Evans, and one file from John McComb; and legislative representatives Linda Billings, Rhea Cohen, Jonathan Gibson, Holly Schadler, Brooks Yeager, Blake Early, Greg Thomas, Michael Matz, Tim Mahoney, Larry Williams, Charles Clusen, Drew Diehl, Barbara Reid Alexander, Richard Lahn, Peter Borrelli, and David Gardiner; and director of communications Diane McEachern.