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Why the Willow Project is a Big Deal

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at MSU chapter.

I’m sure everyone has heard about the approved Willow Project, either through the news, friends, or social media. Here is what the Willow Project could mean, from the point of view of a Political Science major with an interest in Environmental Law. 

The Willow Project is a plan to construct an oil reserve in Arctic Alaska and stands to be the biggest oil drilling project in the country, with a cost of around $8-10 billion. 

Why should you care about the Willow Project? It has been estimated that the Willow Project will create hundreds of miles of roads and pipelines in the already endangered Alaskan arctic with a net production of around 576 million barrels of oil over a span of 30 years. Because of this amount of drilling, the atmosphere around this fragile ecosystem will be littered with carbon dioxide, which will endanger the wildlife around the area. 

The wildlife within Arctic Alaska is endangered. With two-thirds of the polar bear population projected to go extinct by 2050 along with several species of whales and foxes on the critically endangered list, it doesn’t take a lot of math to understand how this project can impact the animals that have been living in the Arctic longer than we have been an intelligent species. 

Overall, while the Willow Project has been approved and plans to construct are underway, there are still things you can do to save the environment and preserve the beauty the Earth has given us: Join advocacy programs or write to your state’s representatives. We all have a voice and we should be advocating for those who don’t – like the wildlife in Alaska being threatened by the Willow Project.

Lauren Welch is a senior at Michigan State University studying Political Science pre-law with a minor in Law, Justice, and Public Policy. Lauren Welch is currently the secretary for the Michigan State University chapter and loves to write articles that relate to the college experience and tips on how to survive college in the most fun way. You can reach her through email at welchla3@msu.edu