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Stop the Drill Activist Toolkit: Write an LTE

If your talent is writing, we need you. The best way you can help is by writing letters to the editors (LTEs) of your local newspapers.

LTEs are a great way to reach a large audience with our message to stop offshore oil drilling. In the last two month, support for offshore drilling has plummeted, in part thanks to all those who took pen to paper to voice their concerns about the ongoing disaster in the Gulf.

Writing LTEs is easy and fun. All it takes is about twenty minutes and a little creativity!

Here’s how to do it:

  • Find an article in your local newspaper or on their website that relates to the topic of offshore drilling or climate change.
  • Begin your letter by referring to the article by name. (See sample.)
  • Write a couple paragraphs on the topic, making it as personal to you as possible. Don’t just tell them that you want to stop new offshore drilling, tell them why it is so important to you. (For example, do you enjoy fishing? Seafood? Swimming? Going to the beach? Living in a sustainable environment? Etc.)
  • Keep it short and to the point.
  • Key ideas to communicate:
    • President Obama and Congress should permanently ban offshore oil drilling.
    • President Obama and Congress should pursue offshore wind.
    • Oceana is a leading group on this issue and interested parties should contact StopTheDrill.com to get involved.
  • Important: do not use any word-for-word statements from the sample at the bottom of this email in your letter. The sample is for guidance only. Newspapers are looking for 100% original material.
  • Do not submit the same letter to multiple newspapers. It’s great to send letters to multiple papers, just be sure to re-write them a little bit so they aren’t identical.
  • Submit LTEs as often as you like. Some writers are printed regularly (as often as once per month or more), depending on the size of the newspaper.

Submitting your LTE:

1. All major newspapers now allow letters to be submitted by email or electronic form on their website. I suggest using these options rather than “snail mail”, as it will arrive faster and therefore be more likely to show up in print. Simply go to the “Opinion” section of the newspaper website and there should be a link to submit a letter.

2. Be sure to include all your contact information when you submit your letter. Many newspapers will call the authors before printing, to confirm authorship.

  • Submit your letter in the body of the email (do not submit as an attached document).

3. If you submit your letter via email, please Blind CC us at act@oceana.org so we know you submitted it and can add it to our tally.  

Keep your eyes open for the letter to appear in the paper and/or on their website over the next two weeks. 

Click here for a sample letter to the editor.