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The Controversy Over the Long Awaited Decision on The Willow Project

The younger generations are losing trust as Biden shatters his promise to reduce oil and gas production. 

The Willow Project has been drumming up an incredible amount of press in the last month, making it one of the most talked about issues at the moment. The project has grabbed the attention of environmental activists, and not in a good way. Biden’s approval of Willow goes completely against his 2020 statements to better the environment. He has millions of younger eyes on him waiting to see his next steps in moving forward with the project. 

The Willow Project is a large-scale oil drilling plan that will take place in the Nation Petroleum Reserve in Alaska. Willow was first proposed by ConocoPhillips in 2018 and has since had its fair share of ups and downs. Since its birth, the idea has gone through hundreds of environmental regulatory checks and they just recently settled on the plan. In 2020 the Trump administration had originally approved for ConocoPhillips to use five drill pads. After several environmental assessments, the Biden administration agreed that five was too many and three drill pads would do the trick. 

Those who take a more environmental approach see Willow as a step backwards for the future of America. Biden’s promise to cut carbon emissions in half by 2030 was shattered with his stamp of approval last week. His attempt to “scale down” Willow doesn’t seem to be making those fighting for environmental rights any happier. Activists say Willow will release over 200 million tons of CO2 into the atmosphere in the next 30 years. The project will also break into the largest reserve of untouched land in America. The Alaskan people surrounding the Nation Petroleum Reserve will be directly affected by the drilling. Those who use the land for survival are going to deal with the loss of wildlife and poor conditioning near the drilling site. Younger generations are crying out all over the nation to put an end to the harmful drilling. A petition going viral on TikTok has gained almost 5 million signatures in the last 4 weeks, making it one of the most signed petitions on the website. Several independent campaigns have taken the decision to court. On March 15th, Earthjustice filed a lawsuit against The Willow Project in hopes to halt it completely. 

Those taking an economic approach to the project see prosperity. Biden had many things to consider in the decision making process, the environment is clearly not the only thing he had on his mind. Willow will create thousands of jobs and drive traffic to Alaska, giving the area an economic boost. Local Alaskans would benefit from the construction and operation jobs offered to build and run the drilling site. To only will this create thousands of new job opportunities, it will solve the nation’s energy supply issue. The raised price in gas since 2020 would decrease enormously with the production of oil so close to home. Though there are economic benefits, Biden’s 2020 campaign promised to reduce “new oil and gas permitting on public lands and waters”. Activists have made it known that his approval of the project goes against what he had promised the younger generations of our nation and they will fight to get it appealed.

Biden’s approval of the Willow project was just this past Monday, March 13th. With not much information on anything other than his decision to move forward with Willow, we cannot say much about the future of the project. Once environmental activists take action on the law suits out in place, there should be more to come about the final outcome of the issue.