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Willow Project Approval and the Climate Crisis


Explaining the project


    Joe Biden approved, day 13March, the ConocoPhillips project, the largest refinery in the region, which aims to remove around 180,000 barrels of oil per day from the National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska. The proposal initially consisted of five drilling areas, but after several criticisms and in order to mitigate them, the number was reduced to three.

    The president of the United States is being deeply criticized for his decision, since in his election campaign he promised to end drilling in federal lands, in addition to fighting against climate change. However, according to the project's forecasts, around 9.2 million metric tons of carbon pollution will be released into the atmosphere per year, which means a major setback in the fight against global warming.


Project criticism


    On the one hand, the company responsible alleges that the project will generate jobs, local investment and revenue, in addition to representing an important new source of income for the region and increase national energy production, reducing dependence on the United States. On the other hand, environmental groups are firmly against it and argue that the impact on the climate and wildlife should be reason enough to stop the project, warning not only about the risks of pollution, but also about the extinction of native species.

    Opponents also point to the conditions of the local population who will need to deal with the impact caused by the fact that they will be surrounded by refinery stations and huge holes. Thus, a petition was prepared, which collected more than three million signatures and was sent to the White House, taking a position against the project and requesting its suspension.


Government decision 


    The Willow project had already been proposed by the American company in 2017, having been approved during the Donald Trump administration, in 2020, but after several protests and lawsuits from indigenous peoples and environmental groups, who claimed the violation of environmental protection rights and human rights. These protests were successful and resulted in the project being temporarily suspended for an environmental review.

    It is currently beingawait a final decision from the US government, which should occur in the coming weeks.

By: Gabriela Costa Eitler on 31/03/2023



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