The Willow Project’s Looming Approval Would Violate Biden’s Climate Promises

Lizzy Rosenberg - Author

Jul. 11 2022, Published 3:18 p.m. ET

Willow Project
Source: Getty Images

It's already been quite a week, and it's only Monday.

After the Trump administration supported the ConocoPhillips drilling project, aka the Willow project in northern Alaska, a judge blocked the Biden administration from supporting it, citing insufficient consideration of its effects on climate change and on the ecosystem. But, the Biden administration is now deciding to reevaluate it, with the intention of implementing five drill sites statewide.

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“This project is a climate disaster in waiting,” Christy Goldfuss, the SVP for energy and environment policy at the Center for American Progress stated after the Biden administration agreed to reanalyze it on Friday, as per CNN.

“When approved, it will define the country’s energy future for the next 30-plus years while having no impact on the pain that Americans are currently feeling at the pump.”

"Giving the Willow Project a stamp of approval after this rushed and incomplete review process could be the kiss of death for any chance at meeting President Biden’s climate commitments,” Lena Moffitt, Chief of Staff at Evergreen Action, also stated, as per The Washington Examiner.

That said, this could be seriously devastating for conservationists worldwide.

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What is The Willow Project?

Eco-conscious voters were initially looking forward to Biden's desire to achieve various climate goals. However, that's no longer the case. According to The New York Times, ConocoPhillips had initially proposed the Willow project during Trump's presidency.

Over time, the project would produce more than 600 million barrels of oil over the course of the next 30 years.

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Upwards of five drilling sites could be erected in Alaska's North Slope on federal land. It would include a processing facility, transportation pipelines, an air strip, a gravel mine site, and an air strip.

As you would imagine, the project has garnered considerable support from the Republican party, and unfortunately, from the Biden administration.

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Why is the Willow project so polarizing?

The analysis, which was released by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) proposed a few different options for the project. And although one offers less than five drilling sites, to lessen the impact on local caribou, environmentalists are incredibly disappointed how this would contribute to the ongoing climate crisis, according to Reuters.

To keep If the project is ultimately approved, it would release up to 284 metric tons of carbon dioxide into the already-damaged atmosphere.

If the project is green-lit, it would would also threaten the state's robust biodiversity.

Supporters of the controversial project, on the other hand, look at the project as an economic boost. But ultimately, the cost of climate recovery is far pricier than our lack of national oil.

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What is the status of the Willow project?

Although the Biden administration is evidently hoping to pass the Willow project, it isn't necessarily set in stone.

At this point, the BLM still has the opportunity to not approve the project at all. The organization is accepting public commentary on alternative options over the next 45 days, according to CNN, giving them time to ultimately make an official decision.

ConocoPhillips spokesperson, Dennis Nuss, stated Willow was "a strong example of environmentally and socially responsible development that offers extensive public benefits."

But sadly, we know that won't be the case — hopefully it doesn't ultimately move forward.

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