According to an administration official, US president Joe Biden is expected to announce new protection measures for the Arctic from the future major oil drilling project in Alaska.
What is the Complete Story?
On Monday, Biden will declare federal lands and waters protection in Alaska as the administration is poised soon to approve a major oil drilling project in the state.
According to an administration official, Biden will announce new measures to protect over 13 million acres in the Federal Petroleum Reserve in Alaska from oil drilling. The Biden administration will also protect up to 16 million acres from fossil fuel leasing.
The main reason behind the Biden administration making this announcement is that they are preparing to green-light the ConocoPhillips’ Willow oil drilling project. It is going to be the largest oil drilling project in the National Petroleum Reserve.
According to the administration’s estimates, the project would generate enough oil, which is capable of releasing around 9.2 million metric tons of planet-warming carbon pollution a year.
Protection will Extend to Other Areas also
The Biden administration declared that new protections would also extend to other areas, such as Teshekpuk Lake, Utukok Uplands, Kasegaluk Lagoon, Colville River and Peard Bay.
These places are known for providing grizzly bears, migratory birds and polar bears with the required habitat. According to the administration, their actions will be like a firewall against the existing expansion of projects on the North Slope and future fossil fuel leasing.
The expected approval of a major Willow oil drilling project will be a victory of an alliance of Alaska’s Native tribes, congressional delegation and group who hailed the oil drilling project. However, opposing or arguing the drilling venture will hurt the president’s ambitious climate goals and cause environmental and health risks.
Karine Jean-Pierre, the White House secretary, made a statement that no decision regarding this major oil drilling project had been made yet.
She added the US department should make an independent decision on the project.
On the Willow oil drilling project, the Biden administration officials are entirely focused on the legal changes which try to stop or limit the project. It will also restrict the administration’s options with the drilling venture.
However, the administration’s new protection measures announcement will not be enough to ease the concerns of environmental and climate groups opposing the oil drilling project.