Join our Letter Writing Campaign

Lots of people read the Letters to the Editor and this is a great way to get our voices heard. And it's easy.

The goal of our Letter Writing campaign is to have a letter about Marcellus appear at least once a month. Letters should be short and direct. Most papers limit these Letters to about 150 words. For example, for the Pittsburgh Post Gazette it's 250 words, but the shorter the better.

Letters which get into print comment on something in the news, or an article or editorial in the paper, or a letter they previously published. (Note: This project requires reading the paper.)

For instance, today (May 17, 2011) you might comment on the fine DEP levied on Chesapeake Energy. Do you agree with Jan Jarrett of PennFuture that the $1.1 million fine is reasonable? Or do you think the statement by the lawyer for one of the workers who was hurt, is more accurate --that the fine is a "slap on the wrist?"

Or you might call on state representatives and senators to oppose Senator Scarnati's bill SB 1100 which will impose an impact fee on gas drillers. The fee would be distributed to counties and municipalities which, in turn, would have to essentially give up their right to pass any restrictive zoning regulations for drillers.

Check your local paper's website about their requirements. Usually they want the letter included in the body of an email, and you must include your name, address and email and phone number. They will call you to verify that you wrote the letter. If they don't you can call them in a few days and ask if they plan to publish your letter. Contact Joni Rabinowitz - Marcellus Protest's Letter Writing Campaign Coordinator - and let her know which month you will write, and she'll remind you. Her number is 412-241-8359 and email

For other ideas about topics, check out the resources section of our website.

Here are some tips on writing a Letter to the Editor:

  • Be brief and stick to one topic (check with the newspaper about their length requirements). State a main topic.
  • Write within a few days of the article or event you're responding to.
  • Mention public officials and actions you'd like them to take. They do track when their names appear in letters
  • If your opinion is shared by a larger group (for example, your national faith group) mention it.
  • Be polite and respectful, but expressing emotion -like shock and awe, or anger-is acceptable. Or ask a question.
  • Personalize your letter say why it's important to you. This is one type of writing where it's okay to personalize to say "I" or "we."
  • If you're commenting on a statewide or national or international event, make a local or personal connection.