According to two individuals with knowledge of the decision, the Biden administration has approved the Willow oil project on the oil-rich North Slope of Alaska.
The decision announced on Monday, one of the most momentous climate choices made by President Joe Biden, is sure to be criticized by environmentalists who believe it contradicts the Democratic president’s climate goals.
Climate activists were incensed by Biden’s apparent willingness to approve the project, which, according to them, would jeopardize his environmental legacy.
They claim that allowing the oil corporation ConocoPhillips to proceed with the drilling proposal would also violate Biden’s campaign pledge to halt new oil drilling on public lands.
ConocoPhillips According to the business, the Willow project in Alaska may produce up to 180,000 barrels of oil per day, create up to 2,500 construction employment and 300 permanent jobs, and earn billions of dollars in royalties and tax income for the federal, state, and local governments.
The project, which is located in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska as recognized by the federal government, enjoys significant political backing in the state.
Recently, Alaska Native state legislators met with Interior Secretary Deb Haaland to advocate for Willow.
But, environmental activists have launched a social media campaign using the hashtag #StopWillow to remind Biden of his promises to cut so-called greenhouse gas emissions and promote renewable energy.
The administration’s decision comes after the U.S. Bureau of Land Management advanced in February, as part of an environmental evaluation, a development option asking for up to three initial drill sites, which would comprise about 219 total wells.
ConocoPhillips Alaska stated that it believes this approach to be viable.
Republicans in the U.S. Senate from Alaska cautioned that any more restrictions might kill the project and leave it unprofitable.
However, the land management agency noted that the final decision could be different, and the U.S. Department of the Interior expressed “substantial concerns” regarding the project and the agency’s preferred option, “including direct and indirect greenhouse gas emissions and impacts to wildlife and Alaska Native subsistence.”