Biden approves controversial ‘Willow Project’ oil drilling

From NOTICE News Daily for March 15, 2023

On Monday, the Biden administration approved a controversial plan to allow more oil drilling in Northern Alaska called the Willow Project. It’s been staunchly opposed by environmentalists, who say the president is going back on a campaign promise. But local officials—both Republicans and Democrats—support the measure, saying it will bring much needed jobs and revenue to the state. >> Full story



Jonathan: This is the National Petroleum Reserve in Northern Alaska, on what’s called the state’s North Slope.

The 23-million acre area is home to migratory birds, threatened polar bears, endangered beluga whales, and according to experts, billions of barrels of oil.

On Monday, the Biden administration gave the green light to a controversial oil and gas drilling project in the region, drawing criticism from environmental activists.

The oil company – ConocoPhillips – will spend 7 billion dollars on the project, known as the Willow Project.

The Biden administration only approved three drilling sites to reduce the impact on wildlife habitats, but it’s nevertheless set to be the largest oil project on public land in the U.S.

Oil and gas extraction releases harmful pollutants into the air and water, and poses significant threats to the climate, land, and marine ecosystems.

The CO2 released by burning fossil fuels like oil are far and away the largest contributor to climate change, and critics say the oil project flies in the face of Biden’s goal to cut carbon emissions in half by 2030.

One environmental group called Biden’s decision “incredibly disappointing.”

Sound: “We don’t have time to compromise when it comes to addressing the climate crisis. Biden can’t have his cake and eat it to when it comes to handling an existential crisis.”

Biden’s approval of the project appears to go back on a campaign promise. Here’s his response to a voter question about Arctic drilling.

Sound – Biden: “And by the way, no more drilling on federal lands. Period, period, period.”

The project, though, has had bipartisan support, including from Alaska Native leaders. They say it will bring jobs and much-needed tax revenue.

The chairman of the oil company said the drilling project “fits within the Biden administration’s priorities on environmental and social justice.”