The Willow Project

The Willow Project

Kylie Richardson

The Willow Project. The name has circulated all throughout the media sending many Americans into a mass hysteria after President Joe Biden approved the detrimental oil drilling project on Alaska’s North Slope. According to The Wilderness Society, oil pollution damages communities and stimulates climate change through its harmful release of carbon dioxide and Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) and other toxicants, ruins natural wildlands, reduces tourism, disrupts wildlife habitat, is deadly to animals, and contaminates drinking water. The extraction of oil is one of the leading causes of climate change, negatively affecting the Earth’s global temperature and the life on it. 

During the 2020 presidential campaign, Joe Biden’s campaign team released The Biden Plan for a Clean Energy Revolution and Environmental Justice. He claimed to want to “protect” the environment. The Willow Project does exactly the opposite. In Joe Biden’s press release regarding clean energy, he developed his Green New Deal as a “crucial framework for meeting the climate challenges we face. It powerfully captures two basic truths, which are at the core of his plan: (1) the United States urgently needs to embrace greater ambition on an epic scale to meet the scope of this challenge, and (2) our environment and our economy are completely and totally connected.” The idea behind this “New Deal” of clean energy is to harness all of America’s energy and talents and reach a 100% clean energy economy. Approving one of America’s most harmful oil drilling plans is not quite in the right direction if the United States is moving forward in a cleaner way. It’s actually a completely different direction in the opposite way, leaving most Americans extraordinarily confused. The Biden Administration has pushed for achieving their environmental targets of safe, renewable clean energy. The end goal of Biden’s so-called “energy efficiency standards” had planned to help the nation achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. The approval of the Willow Project has basically sealed the fate of that ever happening. It would be next to impossible to achieve 50% of emission reductions by 2030 now that the president has approved the Willow Project, unfortunately digging America into an even deeper hole of environmental disturbance.

Well, what exactly is the Willow Project? The Willow Project is a project developed by ConocoPhillips, an American corporation specializing in the extraction and production of hydrocarbons in hopes of producing revenue and new jobs to fuel the U.S. economy. in Alaska to extract over 600 million barrels of oil. This colossal project is expected to be completed in the next decade on Alaska’s North Slope in the federal government-owned National Petroleum Reserve. It’s evident that this project would raise controversy considering the state of the global climate. The project would only worsen everything. As mentioned before, this massive project will speed up global warming. Increased oil drilling and other climate-change inducers may possibly increase the rate at which the ice is melting. Ice melting is an extraordinarily prevalent issue considering the animals native to the locations are adapted to the colder and ice-filled environment where their habitats and food are located. In addition, though jobs will be created to help stimulate the economy, the drawbacks outweigh any positives in this situation. Noise pollution as a result of the development and process itself will heavily disrupt ecosystems and migration patterns of animals, threaten already-endangered species such as caribou, and interfere with native Alaskans that rely on their environment as is. Not to mention, the building of the oil drilling site and other construction to support the transportation will impede the natural habitats of many animals and/or require native Alaskan residents to relocate away from the monstrosity. 

The $8 billion dollar project will only create approximately 300 permanent jobs and 2,500 temporary construction positions. Is all of this worth it?  Overall, this is a disaster waiting to happen and the approval of the project is an unforgivable mistake that the President has made. The Democrat and his administration had promised a cleaner nation but have entirely backtracked. Who knows what is yet to come with the devastating Willow Project?