On March 13, 2023, the Biden Administration approved ConocoPhillips’s $8 billion dollar Willow Project. The Willow Project is the single largest oil drilling proposal ever done on federal lands. According to the company, this project will be a 30-year effort and produce around 180,000 barrels of oil per day which is 1.5% of total U.S. oil The Willow Project production. It is said that this would be enough to produce 9.2 million metric tons of carbon dioxide a year. And as we know carbon dioxide is the leading cause of climate change and with the approval of The Willow Project, climate change can reach a point of no return.
This news was devastating to the indigenous people living in Alaska because of the negative effects that this project will cause. Quannah Chasinghorse who is a Han Gwich’in and Sicangu/Oglala Lakota land protector stated on CNN, “It is the local Inupiaq communities who would bear the brunt of the negative impacts. Why are we as Indigenous people continually told that we must sacrifice our lands, our way of life and health for other people’s jobs and the nation’s oil dependence?”. CNN interview Not only will the Willow Project affect the indigenous people of Alaska, but it will have a drastic impact on the environment as well.
The approval of this project created an uprising of activism against it with groups such as Earthjustice, environmental law groups and environmentalists all around. With a petition on change.org that has millions of signatures against it, although this proposal has been approved, they still intend to prepare a case against this and challenge the project to court. President of EarthJustice Abigal Dillen stated, “We are too late in the climate crisis to approve massive oil and gas projects that directly undermine the new clean economy that the Biden Administration committed to advancing”. But what many including myself call devastating news, there are many others who cheered for this approval.
The federal lawmakers of Alaska as well as many others are thankful that the Willow project came to fruition. They were thankful to President Joe Biden because to them the Willow Project will create new opportunities for their community, increased ability for their people and open a wide range of jobs. They believe that the willow project is a way to advance Alaska and help their community grow. Whether you are for the Willow project or against it there is no denying that the effects of this project will cause lifelong negative effects to the Environment and just because it’s not affecting you, doesn’t mean it doesn’t matter.
(Links to help bring an end to the Willow Project!!)