Biden Administration Approves Alaskan Willow Project


Picture from the New York Times

Teya Haney, Reporter

This past Monday, President Joseph Biden and his administration announced the approval of the Willow Project. This project, which has sparked harsh controversy across the internet, will initially allow three sites of oil drilling in Alaska, which could include up to 219 total wells. This comes 24 hours after the administration said that it will limit drilling in areas of Alaska and the Arctic Ocean.
The detrimental effects of the Willow Project are numerous. The use of the oil from the Willow Project will produce over 263 million tons of greenhouse gas over the next 30 years of the project’s life. This is projected to quickly further climate change, as greenhouse gas emissions only trap the planet’s heat. This comes during a time when climate change is becoming increasingly unrepairable, and a time of environmental activism. Many environmentalists see this as a route that will only further the Earth’s climate damage, and the acceptance of this project goes fully against the promises of the Biden Administration to cut climate pollution in half by 2030.
Another issue with the Willow Project is the land that it is being created on. The project is expected to take place on the North Slope of the National Petroleum Reserve and will span across a 23-million-acre area. This expanse of land is home to Caribou and their migration paths, as well as many other animals. This project will disrupt their paths, which may potentially cause harm to many wildlife, whether it be by Willow Project equipment, workers, or predators on alternate routes. Parts of the proposed area are also crucial calving areas for caribou. The affected areas imposed some protections for wildlife, after the initial shutdown of the project in 2020, after it was approved by the Trump Administration yet dismissed after the project did not meet requirements for wildlife and certain environmental protections.
While many across both the United States and the world object to this potentially detrimental project, many residents of Alaska approve of the Willow Project, as it dramatically boosts the local and national economy, and provides more job opportunities for Alaska citizens.
However, the Willow Project isn’t fully approved yet. The Interior Department, specifically Interior Secretary Deb Haaland, makes the final decision. So far, the department has been against the Project, as even the revisions still contain issues in terms of the correct protection of wildlife and nature. Overall, while good for the economy, the Willow Project is possibly detrimental to the environment. Whether it is approved or not may be crucial to the fate of our planet.