(LibertySociety.com) – The Willow Project, which was initially conceived during the Trump administration, was finally approved by the Biden administration. The Department of Interior officially announced the decision on March 13th, 2023, but the Biden administration has been playing an active role in the process of approving the deal. The approval process was initially slowed down due to a ruling by a judge to study the climate effects of the project in greater detail.
The Biden administration approved a scaled-back version of the original plan by allowing drilling on just three out of the five sites recommended. According to Fox news, the project will create thousands of construction jobs and a few hundred permanent positions, bring in federal, state, and local revenue totaling over 17 billion, directly benefitting the Indigenous people of Alaska. It’s predicted that Willow will also provide 180,000 barrels of oil per day, with a 30 year projection of over 600 million barrels of oil. In addition, a new airport, gravel mine, a central processing plant, pipelines, and hundreds of wells will all be constructed to support the project.
Progressive Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., Senator Ed Markey, D-Mass., Senator Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., Senator Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and others signed a letter to Biden back on March 3 urging him not to go through with the project. The lawmakers would rather President Biden take no action on the project, further stalling its implementation. According to Fox News, Senator Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., called the decision to approve Willow “A complete betrayal.”
The project has unanimous bipartisan approval from the legislature of the state of Alaska, as well as the Alaska Federation of Natives, who cite the lengthy review process that shows the benefits of the project moving forward. In early March, Rep. Mary Peltola, R-Alaska, told Biden that the majority of people in Alaska are supportive of the move, while speaking of Indigenous citizens during a meeting at the White House. Despite activists labeling the project as a “carbon bomb,” a statement released by Senator Dan Sullivan, R-Alaska, after the announcement of the approval claimed it would produce the lowest possible emissions.
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