Biden Approves the Contentious Willow Project While Blocking Oil Drilling in Alaska.

Biden Approves the Contentious Willow Project While Blocking Oil Drilling in Alaska.

While his government allowed the mammoth Willow oil project, which was bitterly opposed by climate activists and many members of Alaska’s Indigenous communities, President Joe Biden has announced new plans to limit onshore oil and gas exploration in Alaska and ban drilling in the Arctic Ocean.

Over three million acres of the Beaufort Sea will not be subject to drilling or oil exploration thanks to the new plans, which were revealed Sunday night. The Willow project will only allow drilling on a portion of Alaska’s National Petroleum Reserve that is larger than 13 million acres.

Climate groups have dubbed the Willow project a carbon bomb and seen it as a sign that President Biden is breaking his pledge to limit new oil and gas exploration.

The Willow project is anticipated to generate up to 180,000 barrels of oil per day, according to ConocoPhillips, Alaska’s largest crude oil producer, according to The Guardian.

Biden Approves the Contentious Willow Project While Blocking Oil Drilling in Alaska.

According to Athan Manuel, director of the Sierra Club’s Lands Protection Program, none of the current proposals pose a greater threat to lands, wildlife, communities, and our climate than the ConocoPhillips Willow project. “The benefits of these protections can be undone just as quickly by approval of oil and gas projects on public lands,” Manuel said.

Biden’s choice of Willow runs the danger of alienating young voters who were inspired by the project and expressed their disapproval on social media.

Despite Deb Haaland, the Secretary of the Interior, who had final approval, having opposed the project when a member of Congress, the Willow project was approved.

According to a statement from the White House, which was obtained by The Associated Press, the preservation of the offshore area in Alaska safeguards crucial habitats for animals including polar bears, whales, and seals, assuring that they would be safeguarded in perpetuity from extractive development.

The enhanced safeguards for the Beaufort Sea, according to the White House, go beyond those put in place by President Barack Obama.

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We applaud the Biden Administration for adopting this important move, and Manuel added in a statement that these unmatched safeguards for Alaska’s landscapes and seas were the right choice at the right time.

The 23 million acre petroleum reserve, which was set aside on Alaska’s North Slope 100 years ago, contains an additional 13 million acre conservation area, according to The Associated Press. In approximately half of the reserve, oil, and gas leasing is already prohibited by an Obama-era regulation that the Biden administration enforced last year.

The new limits safeguard crucial bear habitat in the Utukok Uplands, Colville River, Teshekpuk Lake, Kasegaluk Lagoon, and Peard Bay Special Areas, including that of polar and grizzly bears, hundreds of thousands of migratory birds, and caribou.

Biden Approves the Contentious Willow Project While Blocking Oil Drilling in Alaska.

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According to Connor Dunnon, the asset manager for the Willow project at ConocoPhillips, the company in charge of the project has owned leases inside the reserve since the first lease auction in 1999.

According to Manuel, who was quoted by The Guardian, oil and gas leasing on public lands and oceans must come to an end immediately.

Vishal Rana

Vishal is working as a Content Editor at Enviro360. He covers a wide range of topics, including media, energy, weather, industry news, daily news, climate, etc. Apart from this, Vishal is a sports enthusiast and loves to play cricket. Also, he is an avid moviegoer and spends his free time watching Web series and Hollywood Movies.

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