Biden Admin Approves Alaskan Oil and Gas 'Willow Project'

    Biden Admin Approves Alaskan Oil and Gas 'Willow Project'
    Last updated Mar 14, 2023
    Image credit: aljazeera


    • US Pres. Biden's administration greenlit ConocoPhillips’ large Willow oil and gas drilling project in Alaska on Monday, much to the consternation of environmental and climate change campaigners.[1]
    • The administration has come under fire from Indigenous peoples and climate campaigners, who say that the decision to approve the project breaks his climate change pledges.[2]
    • The project, which has bi-partisan support from Alaskan congressional representatives, will be made up of three oil drilling sites and up to 199 wells. It may ultimately produce up to 180K barrels of oil a day, create up to 2.5K jobs during construction and 300 long-term jobs, and add billions of dollars into state and federal coffers, according to ConocoPhillips.[3]
    • The US Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Land Management, which approved the project, said that their decision “strikes a balance” by allowing ConocoPhillips to make use of its leases in the Arctic National Petroleum Reserve while limiting the total sites to three rather than the five requested.[4]
    • The Bureau also announced that Biden will ban any future oil and gas drilling in 2.8M acres of the US Arctic Ocean. The agency will also consider, following a public consultation, limiting future oil and gas leasing and industrial development to protect wildlife in the region and protect millions of acres of Alaska land deemed sensitive to Native communities.[5]
    • The Willow project was approved by Trump’s administration in 2021, however, a federal district court rejected that approval after determining that Trump’s government failed to properly consider the environmental impacts of the development.[6]


    Pro-establishment narrative

    The Biden admin. has made the right decision for Alaska and for the country. Approval of the Willow project fits with the admin’s priorities on environmental and social justice, facilitating the energy transition to a green economy and enhancing US energy security, all while creating good union jobs and providing benefits to Alaska Native communities. This project should reduce US dependence on foreign energy supplies, and is projected to deliver between $8B to $17B in revenue for the federal government, the state of Alaska, and North Slope Borough communities.

    Establishment-critical narrative

    Biden has just approved the next US climate bomb. This decision is not only a complete betrayal of his commitment to confront the climate crisis but is also an open violation of Indigenous rights. Willow would be the single largest oil extraction point on US public lands, emitting 278M metric tons of pollution over the next 30 years. That’s equivalent to the annual emissions from 74 coal plants — one-third of all remaining US plants. Willow will disproportionately impact the community of Nuiqsut, a predominantly Iñupiaq village of about 500 people already suffering extreme pollution from existing oil projects.

    Establishment split



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