Biden administration approves controversial oil project in Alaska
The Willow project of ConocoPhillips, in the National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska, has already been the subject of legal proceedings.
Despite pressure from environmental groups, the American government on Monday approved a large oil project in northern Alaska, the Willow project of the American giant ConocoPhillips, announced the Department of the Interior, in charge of federal lands in the United States.
The project, reduced to three drilling areas from the five originally requested by the company, is located in an area called the National Petroleum Reserve in northwest Alaska. This is US state land, after President Joe Biden, a Democrat, came to power promising not to allow new oil and gas drilling on federal land.
Anxious at the same time to give pledges to environmental defenders, the American government has announced that it is working on additional protections for a large area of the national petroleum reserve. He has also announced that he wants to permanently ban drilling over a large area of the Arctic Ocean, bordering this reserve.
Willow project defenders see it as a source of x27;jobs and a contribution to US energy independence.
Lake Teshekpuk, considered vital for several animal species, is located in the National Petroleum Reserve Alaska, region in which the US government approved the Willow oil project.
But environmental associations, which had launched a vast campaign to fight against the project, denounce a disaster for the climate. Willow is going to be one of the largest oil and gas operations on public federal lands in the country, environmental organization Sierra Club said Monday.
“The carbon pollution it will release into the air will have devastating effects on our people, wildlife and the climate. We will suffer the consequences for decades to come.
— The environmental organization Sierra Club.
For days, a wave of videos opposing the project had swept the social network TikTok in particular, and an online petition had collected more than 3.2 million signatures.
The battle over Project Willow has been going on for years. It was initially approved by the Trump administration, before being temporarily halted in 2021 by a judge, who sent it back for further government review.
In early February, the Land Management Office published its environmental analysis of the project, in which it detailed a preferred alternative. The latter reduced the project to three drilling sites instead of five, with approximately 219 wells.
The result of this solution: the production of 576 million barrels of oil over approximately 30 years , according to Bureau estimates. And emitting 9.2 million tons of CO2 per year, or 0.1% of US greenhouse gas emissions in 2019.
Joe Biden has promised to reduce US greenhouse gas emissions by 50-52% by 2030, compared to 2005. A goal taken under the Paris Agreement on the climate, to enable the world's largest economy to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050.