According to a congressional source, the Biden administration will be approving a major oil drilling project, ConocoPhillips’ Willow Project on Alaska’s North Slope soon.
What is the Complete Story?
The decision on approving the major oil drilling project will be announced next week. If the project gets approved, it will be a victory for Alaska’s congressional delegation and an alliance of Alaska Native tribes.
However, arguing the project will hurt the presidential ambitious climate goals and pose environmental risks. Karine Jean-Pierre, White House press secretary, made a statement that there is no final decision on the project made yet.
The US department would make an independent decision on it, Karine added. She said who’s saying the final decision is wrong as nothing had happened. A spokesperson for ConocoPhillips, Dennis Nuss, said no decision regarding the project had been shared with the company yet.
Oil Willow Drilling Project would Benefit Alaska Natives
During the meeting between Alaska’s congressional delegation and White House interior staff, Alaska lawmakers argued the oil drilling project would benefit Alaska Native communities on the remote North Slope.
This is the place where fuel and food are costly. And The National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska, where the oil drilling project is planned, holds up to 600 million barrels of oil.
The project would help to bring much-needed jobs and revenue to the remote region. Also, it would help to bring astronomical costs of fuel down.
Two or Three Drilling Pad Project
It has yet to be cleared whether the Biden administration will approve a higher version, three drilling pads or a smaller version of the project, two drilling pads. News circulated earlier this month that White House officials are choosing the two drilling pad project.
A senior adviser on climate and clean energy implementation, John Podesta, made a statement that the White House climate office are always in touch with the Interior department for updates on the project.
Environmental Advocates Challenge the Alaska Oil Project in Court
Some Alaska natives were deeply worried about the project due to its health and environmental impacts. Some activists even rallied against the Alaska oil project.
It says the oil drilling project would generate enough oil, which is capable of releasing 9.2 million metric tons of planet-warming carbon pollution a year. Therefore, environmental advocates decided to challenge the project in court.
They have been preparing a case against the Biden administration. They said the Briden administration has to protect the environment, including taking significant steps to reduce planet-warming carbon pollution.
Abigail Dillen, Earthjustice President, even said the Biden administration is betraying its core commitment to stop runaway climate change. We’re hoping they’ll realise their mistake and make the right decision to reject this Willow project.
But if they approve the project, we’ll stay on our commitment to challenging it in court.
How Twitter Reacted to the Oil Project?
There were mixed reactions on Alaska oil project. Most of them were protesting against it.
A group of climate activists staged a protest in front of the White House to demand that President Biden reject the proposed Willow oil and gas drilling project in Alaska. pic.twitter.com/F0QR9x8Se1
— RT (@RT_com) March 5, 2023
Today on #PresidentsDay, we call on @potus to fulfill his climate promises and stop the Willow Project, aka the largest proposed oil&gas "Carbon Bomb" threatening Alaska's North Slope and the Western Arctic. #StopWillow
See our thread and send him a message! pic.twitter.com/P6RgYcUsd6
— Greenpeace USA (@greenpeaceusa) February 20, 2023
Federal law, Joe Biden must stop Willow; a deep drilling project for oil and gas in the Arctic. Home to indigenous people, habitat for polar bears, bowhead whales, caribou and wolves. It will produce 287 million tons of CO2 equivalent annually of 76 plus coal fired power plants. pic.twitter.com/78j5uqs2S7
— Save the Planet Group 🌍 ⏳ (@KaraJarina) March 3, 2023