President Biden this week broke one of the central campaign promises that he had made to voters during his 2020 presidential campaign by approving the single largest oil drilling project on federal land. Both progressives and environmental groups have spoken against this project.
On Monday, the Department of the Interior (DOI) approved the oil company ConocoPhillips’ proposed 30-year Willow Project in northern Alaska. At the same time, the agency claimed that it had successfully reduced the project size by 40 percent. However, environmentalists have claimed that the three approved sites are still going to provide around 92 percent of the oil that the company had been seeking to produce under the five-site proposal that was originally approved.
Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., Raul Grijalva, D-Ariz., Jared Huffman, D-Calif., and Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass., in a joint statement following the announcement stated that the Biden administration had previously vowed to help fight climate change and “advancing environmental justice” but that their Willow project approval did not meet those standards and promises that they had previously made. They argued that the decision regarding the Willow project went against the “irrefutable science” that showed how projects like this one can have a detrimental effect on the climate. They finally argued that “The only acceptable Willow project is no Willow project.”
The willow project could provide around 614 million barrels over its life span and would result in 278 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions marking a significant move away from Biden’s campaign promises.