Biden Approves Willow Project

On Monday, Biden approved a project that would allow oil drilling in Alaska, an incredibly controversial decision. On one hand, the Willow Project is expected to create as many as 2,500 construction jobs and 300 permanent jobs near the village of Nuiqsut on Alaska’s North Slope, according to ConocoPhillips.

However, there is growing concern about the impacts this will have on the environment and the animals currently living there. The drilling would take place in the National Petroleum Reserve, which is the largest tract of undisturbed public land in the United States, reports Voice of America News. 

According to CNN, the Biden administration estimates that the project would generate enough oil to release 9.2 million metric tons of planet-warming carbon pollution a year, which is equivalent to adding 2 million gas-powered cars to the roads.

Growing concerns of the impacts of what this project could do led to climate activists starting a petition on, receiving over 3 million signatures, the hashtag “#stopwillow” spreading all over social media, and over 1 million letters sent by people voicing their concern to The White House.

Kristen Monsell, a senior attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity, told USA Today that Biden’s actions were appalling, and added, “People and wildlife will suffer, and extracting and burning more fossil fuel will warm the climate even faster…Biden has no excuse for letting this project go forward in any form.” 

Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska is all for the project, releasing a statement saying, “We finally did it, Willow is finally reapproved, and we can almost literally feel Alaska’s future brightening because of it,” adding that more jobs and generating billions of dollars in new revenues would improve the quality of life for many in the state. 

The Interior Department, which is responsible for the final decision on whether to approve the Willow Project, has said it has “substantial concerns” about the environmental impacts of the project, including the amount of greenhouse gas emissions being generated, and impacts to local wildlife, according to ABC News. The Interior also announced Sunday that the administration will move to protect 16 million acres of Alaska from future oil and gas developments.