Biden administration approves Willow Project


Provided by the Associated Press

Map locates the Willow oil-drilling project in Alaska’s Western Arctic, which the Biden administration approved March 13.

The Willow Project approved by the Biden Administration on March 13 will cause environmental damage according to Coastal’s chapter of Love Blue, an organization that advocates for clean and healthy beaches.

According to CNN, the Willow Project is an immense oil drilling endeavor occurring in Alaska ran by its largest oil producer, ConocoPhillips energy company. There is a potential to obtain up to 600 million barrels of oil in this area.

Sustainability and coastal resilience major Emily Lockwood is the marketing and communications executive for Love Blue. She said the project will have nothing but negative impacts on the environment.

“The project will have devastating impacts such as destroying critical habitats, influencing changes to migration patterns, destroying habitats, polluting the air and water, and creating food scarcity,” Lockwood said.

Additionally, degrading the land in Alaska could harm the livelihood of many native peoples. According to AP News, indigenous communities economically rely on the Alaskan North Slope where the drill sites will be located.

The Bureau of Land Management emphasizes some of the potential benefits of the Willow Project. The project could create jobs for locals, increase tax revenue, and aid in energy shortage. Additionally, President Biden denied two drilling sites, one which was located near Teshekpuk Lake to minimize environmental harm, according to The New York Times.

However, the three approved drilling pads will produce more than 260 million metric tons of greenhouse gases, which is equal to the combined emissions from 1.7 million cars over the same time period. Some people believe this goes against the Biden Administration’s plan to “combat the climate crisis and achieve a net-zero carbon economy by 2050”

“The Arctic is already warming at a speed that is four times faster than the rest of the globe, and the Willow Project could cause irreversible damage to fragile ecosystems,” Lockwood said.

Recently, the Willow Project has gained a lot of attention on social media. #StopWillow has been created to both advocate for change and spread awareness. People across the world are raising concerns about the negative environmental and social effects of extensive oil drilling.

Environmental organizations such as Earthjustice have started to take legal action against the Willow Project and Biden administration. According to Earthjustice, 5.6 million letters have been sent to the White House and the Department of the Interior expressing opposition to the project.

“We need to be making every effort to transition away from fossil fuels and toward 100% renewable energy, as soon as possible,” Lecturer of sustainability of sustainability and coastal resilience Tatiana Height said.