Writing a letter to the editor (LTE) of your local newspaper or news website is a critical action you can take right now to help stop the pipeline.
They are very powerful tools to get your voice heard not only by fellow Louisianans, but by elected officials as well — since they read the local papers to get a gauge on how the public feels about key issues.
You can also send similar letters to your church newsletter, or send to your personal email contacts list in order to spread the word. Below you will find tips, contact info to submit your LTE to local publications, and recent letters that fellow citizens have seen published in their local papers.
Tips on Writing a Letter to the Editor (LTE):
- Start with a catchy opening and make your point clearly in the first paragraph.
- Papers have different guidelines, which are posted on their websites, but most require you to keep your letter to 200-250 words.
- State facts but don’t overuse numbers. Letters that explain why you personally are opposed to the pipeline help the reader connect with you more than if you just cite numbers.
- Check out our No Bayou Bridge Fact Sheet [link?] for facts and arguments to consider in your letter.
- Bonus points if your letter references or rebuts a recently published pro-pipeline editorial or letter. It shows the editor you’re an active reader who wants to contribute to the discussion.
- Target your local paper. We provide contact info for Louisiana publications below, but you should send yours to your local paper — wherever that is.
- A form or link to submit a letter is usually located somewhere on the letters/opinion page of your local newspaper’s website.
- If your letter to the editor is published, email us the link or a photo and we will post it: firstname.lastname@example.org
Where to Send Your Letter:
- New Orleans Times-Picayune:
Published Examples of a Letter to the Editor:
“Pipeline threatens Louisiana,” The Advocate, 3/10/17.
Right now, southeast Louisiana is the most endangered landscape in North America, losing a football field every 45 minutes. A third of the state is in danger of washing away. Sunoco Logistics and Energy Transfer Partners want to make that statistic worse.
The Bayou Bridge Pipeline would form the tail end of the proposed Dakota Access Pipeline — the one being opposed by thousands at Standing Rock. Spanning 162 miles, connecting Texas to St James, the pipeline passes through 11 parishes and crosses 700 bodies of water. Louisiana already has approximately 125,000 miles of pipelines moving through the state. Even so, Bayou Bridge is predicted to directly affect more than 600 acres of wetlands, and tens of thousands indirectly.
The pipeline would only serve private interests, moving oil that can already be transported to two different ports through existing lines. Any benefits to local economy would be temporary, but the impacts to our wetlands would not be. This all coincides with the recent release of the updated Louisiana Coastal Master Plan, a $92 billion plan the state created with to mitigate the erosion that pipelines and canals played a large part in creating. The state has yet to secure full funding for the plan.
I am the owner of Louisiana Lost Lands Environmental Tours, a business I started four years ago with Marie Gould. Our tours take people into the region’s beautiful, dying cypress tupelo forests. We provide access to the national treasure in our backyards because we have learned the best way to instill an appreciation of our landscape is by taking people out for a firsthand experience in our wetlands. We believe in spreading awareness of our land loss and an appreciation of the implications this will have for the environment, the population in this area, and the economy of the country. We do this because wetlands provide crucial flood protection.
The proposed project is expected to reduce the buffering wetlands throughout Acadia, Lafayette and St Martin Parishes — all of which experienced destructive flooding in 2016. We do this because the large number of refineries and oil and gas activity has given the region the name Cancer Alley. We do this because Louisiana is currently suffering the highest rate of sea level rise in the world. Together, the Dakota Access and Bayou Bridge operation would add emissions equivalent to 30 new coal plants. And we do this because Louisiana’s cypress and tupelo forests, meandering bayous and sprawling wetlands make up a third of our state. And this is the only region we want to call home.
co-owner, Louisiana Lost Lands Environmental Tours
“Act prudently on proposed pipeline,” The Advocate, 1/19/17.
Regarding the proposed Bayou Bridge pipeline, oil companies have done irreparable damage to our homeland, our wetlands, our coast and the Atchafalaya Basin in flagrant violation of state and federal environmental laws. These companies can very clearly afford to do things by the book, yet, because of lack enforcement of our environmental laws we are paying the bitter consequences, and so will many generations to come.
We ask the state of Louisiana and Louisiana’s congressional delegation to support the Corp of Engineers’ enforcement and permitting obligations, and to provide the resources needed for them to do their job. The Corps do not have a single person to review permits for compliance and regulatory, nor do they have a boat for monitoring. For God’s sake, give them a boat!
Louisiana should not be asking for billions of dollars to repair the damages done by the oil industry to our coast until the industry can be properly regulated. It is this lack of regulation which has created the situation we have today.
Real and valuable jobs are those which we have lost, and will continue to lose, as a consequence of greed-generated illegal activities in wetlands, coupled with a lack of enforcement of our environmental laws.
Before granting any permits which will use an existing right of way (corridor), we ask the Corps of Engineers to:
1. Conduct a thorough analysis of all existing violations already on the proposed right of way.
2. Conduct an environmental impact study to determine the effects that those violations, such as illegal dams and spoil banks, are having into the wetlands, including to navigation on waters of the U.S., fisheries, the ecology and aesthetics of the wetlands.
3. Conduct a study on the economic consequences that these violations are having on the fisheries, ecotourism and any other industry affected by them.
4. Put the right of way out of commission until it is brought back into compliance. Make violators accountable by mandating that they correct the problems which they created.
Before granting a permit to Bayou Bridge to build a new pipeline in the Atchafalaya Basin we want the Corps of Engineers to:
1. Review all existing pipeline permits by Energy Transfers and/or any of their subsidiaries.
2. Identify all lack of compliance issues related to those permits.
3. Make Energy Transfer bring those right-of-ways back into compliance, and fix all damages done to wetlands as a consequence of any and all violations.
The Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality should base any decisions regarding this permit on facts and data resulting from all Corps investigations and their environmental impact study.
“Pipeline is about profits, not environment,” The Advocate, 2/3/17.
We were confused by The Advocate’s recent editorial endorsing the Bayou Bridge Pipeline. The editors concluded that because they couldn’t find any compelling reason to block the project, it should go forward. In other words, The Advocate appears to place the burden of proof on the opponents rather than the proponents of the project.
That is like asking the defendant in a murder trial to prove his or her innocence, rather than requiring the prosecutors to prove the defendant’s guilt. Ordinarily, when someone seeks to alter the status quo, as Energy Transfer Partners and Sunoco Logistics want to do with the Bayou Bridge Pipeline, they are required to demonstrate that there is a public need for their plan. Thus far, they have failed to do that.
Instead, the editors (and others) want to give ETP and Sunoco a pass on that issue by telling us that “the market” decided there is a need for the project. If that’s the case, why wasn’t “the market” at the Galvez Building giving us its arguments in favor of the project?
In order to deflect us from the fact that there is no public need for this pipeline, its proponents obsessively recite their mantra that “pipelines are arguably the safest means to transport oil.” Note how often they use that weasel word, “arguably.” Translating from doublespeak, what they’re saying is: “We believe pipelines are safer, but others disagree.” (See, e.g., James Conca, “Pick Your Poison For Crude — Pipeline, Rail, Truck Or Boat,” Forbes, April 26, 2014.)
Let’s face it. They don’t want to build a pipeline because it’s safer. They want to build a pipeline because it is a cheaper way for them to transport oil than via trucks, trains or boats. In other words, they’ll make more money with the pipeline than without it. And they’re asking the citizens of Louisiana to help them do it. We say no.
Until they demonstrate that this project will meet a public need, and not just their own desire for more profits; until they provide some sort of evidence about the environmental impact of this project, and not just vague promises not to foul things up too badly; and until they show us how many people will lose their jobs or their livelihoods as a result of this project, versus the 12 jobs it will create, then they have not begun to meet their burden of proof in this matter, and so their application should be rejected. Much as some may want to deny it, the future of energy production is in renewable energy sources, not in fossil fuels. This is so obvious that even some oil companies are diversifying the energy technologies in which they invest. The Bayou Bridge Pipeline is a 20th-century “solution” to 20th-century problems. Unfortunately for them, we’re well into the 21st century. How can backwards-thinking projects like this ever help Louisiana move forward?
Michael Bowman & Ruth Bowman
“Pipeline not in state’s interest,” The Advocate, 3/9/17.
As a business owner, I stand against the building of the Bayou Bridge pipeline.
My company manufactures bags for the purpose of exploration and recreation in our unique southern Louisiana landscape. We take pride in using materials that are sourced directly from our own natural ecosystems, supporting an industry that is now threatened by the construction of this pipeline.
The plans for the pipeline will cut through the invaluable forests of the Atchafalaya Basin — an ecosystem that has been a vital source of food and life for our southern Louisiana community. And while we already have hundreds of pipelines lying under these waters, the Bayou Bridge pipeline will be the largest proposed pipeline impact to wetlands Louisiana has seen in decades.
To lay the pipeline across Louisiana, they will clear trees from the path and around the path to allow the needed trucks and machinery. The Bayou Bridge construction alone will destroy 600 acres of wetlands, and tens of thousands more acres will be impacted.
This scar across our Basin will not only deter people from spending money to visit and experience this vital natural habitat; it will greatly reduce the opportunity for our crawfish farmers and gator hunters to generate much-needed income for the area. Have we not given enough of our diminishing land and our rich culture to Big Oil?
owner, Tchoup Industries