Why are Letters to the Editor important? 

It puts your issue in front of the public. When you express your opinion you encourage others to consider it and respond if it interests them. This is a common way to build support for an issue.

Make sure to include your name, address, and phone. They probably wont print the address or phone. Just the city. 

How to write a good Letter to the Editor

WHERE to Submit;

Bend Source: 250 words, send to editor@bendsource.com

Bend Bulletin: 250 words max Keep it short and simple. Write a letter that is 250 words or less. Focus on one aspect of why you oppose this per letter. rcoe@bendbulletin.com

  1. Make it personal. Why do you care? Use your experience as a community member and connect with the local audience.
  2. Make it personal: use an example of why it affects you personally, or a family member, or people you care about.
  3. End with a call to action: Example for the GTN Pipeline Expansion:

We need the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to deny the permit for GTN XPress because the project is contrary to the public interest.

Talking points: stick to 1-2 of these per letters: •   For No GTN Express: 

  1. TC Energy claims that its GTN Xpress pipeline expansion is needed to meet rising gas demand in the Pacific Northwest when the region is weaning itself off of polluting fossil fuels.
  2. Expanding GTN would emit millions of metric tons of CO2 equivalent into the atmosphere every year which is inconsistent with Washington’s and Oregon’s laws that require decreasing emissions by 95% and 75%, respectively, by 2050.
  3. Increasing the pressure on the GTN pipeline, which was originally constructed in the 1960s, is dangerous.
  4. The GTN Xpress Pipeline project would leak fracked gas, which is primarily the potent greenhouse gas methane, into the environment, threatening public health and our climate.
  5. Constructing new fracked gas infrastructure would lock in fossil fuel use for another 30 years.
  6. If demand doesn’t reach the level projected, GTN can ask FERC for permission to raise rates across the board. So current GTN customers – even those who did not contract for the increased capacity – could be on the hook to pay for the project down the line. 

More information 

  1. Look at other letters that have been written. Is yours repetitive of a point already made? If so, expand on it, or offer a counter argument.
  2. Try to back up your facts with a source name, or a link.
  3. Try to tie to recent or upcoming events. Newsmedia are focused on this. Is there recent climate policy decisions? Did a decisiomaker say something you disagreed with?
  4. If you do disagree, be respectful and call attention to the behavior, not admonishment of the person.
  5. Include your personal information: name , address, phone number (only your name and city will be printed)
  6. Keep your sentences simple, easy to understand. The average education of general newspaper readership is 8th grade reading level.
  7. Possible angles to stimulate your thinking:
    1. Why is this relevant or important?
    2. Why should people care? Will it harm them? Does it affect air quality, human rights, water quality, taxpayer investments?, climate justice for all people?
    3. Human aspect-who does this hurt? Are they vulnerable, do they need protection?
    4. Environmental aspect Clean air and Clean water are important hot buttons. Make polluters pay is another catchword. Usually taxpayers pay for these largely unregulated damages from polluters and the carbon they dump into our atmosphere.

Follow up

  1. In a couple of days, Check the paper to see if its been published!
  2. Share your success with others in the group!
  3. Don’t be discouraged if you don’t get printed. Just remember to try again!
  4. Submit to other media too. Usually a newspaper will not print if it has already been printed elsewhere. We recommend trying the Bend Source if your letter is declined at the Bend Bulletin.

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