President Biden Must Reverse Course on the Massive Proposal to Drill America’s Western Arctic

By Arctic Business Journal - February 2, 2023
356

Press release from Alaska Wilderness League

Contact:
Aileo Weinmann | 202-538-5038 | [email protected]

President Biden Must Reverse Course on the Massive Proposal to Drill America’s Western Arctic
“The President can show true climate leadership by stopping Willow, before it’s too late.”

Washington, D.C. –  Today, the U.S. Department of the Interior released a final supplemental environmental impact statement (SEIS) for ConocoPhillips’ Willow oil and gas project in the western Arctic. The final SEIS relied upon an insufficient analysis of climate risks, threats to subsistence resources, and impacts to the air, land and water that sustain local communities. President Biden has authority to reject the plan, which conflicts with the administration’s climate goals.

Alaska Wilderness League is calling on President Biden to reverse course on an environmental analysis greenlighting the massive Willow oil and gas project. This will be a defining decision for the administration’s climate legacy.

Statement by Kristen Miller, Executive Director, Alaska Wilderness League:

“We are calling on President Biden to reverse course on this massive climate disaster,” said Kristen Miller, executive director of Alaska Wilderness League. “Our window to act is rapidly closing to avert catastrophic climate change, and this plan only takes us one giant step closer to the edge.

“What’s more, the environmental analysis fails to honor our nation’s shared commitments and Interior’s legal obligations and policies to preserve biodiversity and subsistence resources. It threatens local communities, while impacting all Americans. Alaska’s western Arctic is already on thin ice. We should be prioritizing ways to preserve this irreplaceable ecosystem, by protecting critical wildlife and subsistence resources and avoiding increased climate pollution. The President can show true climate and environmental leadership by stopping Willow before it’s too late.”

Background:

The Willow Master Development Plan is the single largest oil extraction project proposed on public lands. If approved, it would emit pollution over three decades equivalent to 76 coal-fired power plants running for a year and would serve as a “hub,” for ConocoPhillips to access billions of barrels of future Alaskan oil. In addition to significant fossil fuel emissions, the project would threaten the subsistence and wildlife values of the western Arctic, including key migratory paths that sustain food security for the nearby community of Nuiqsut and other communities that depend on subsistence resources. This decision comes as climate change impacts escalate locally and globally, and amidst continued calls from scientists and global leaders to end oil development and double down on renewable energy.

The Willow project has faced strong opposition throughout the country and from the community closest to the development. The Environmental Protection Agency has said that the “proposed project has the potential to have significant environmental justice and climate impacts.” The U.S. Department of the Interior via the U.S. Bureau of Land Management must wait at least 30 days before issuing a Record of Decision on Willow. The public can continue to engage with agencies about the proposal and tell President Biden to say no to this destructive project.

Photo Credit: Kiliii Yuyan


Originally published on 1 February.

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