Biden approves Willow Climate Bomb oil and gas project. CCAN AF calls for reversal

Biden administration approves Willow oil and gas project that will lock in greenhouse gas emissions for decades, drive climate crisis, and harm Arctic communities – CCAN AF objects

Washington, DC — Yesterday, the Biden administration approved the ConocoPhillips’ Willow Project in the western Arctic of Alaska, committing to new oil and gas drilling and massive greenhouse gas emissions for decades to come. President Joe Biden campaigned on addressing the climate crisis and ending the perpetuation of climate injustices; however, approval of Willow undermines Biden’s climate promises and continues “business as usual”, putting industry interests before the health of people. CCAN Action Fund calls on President Biden to fix this mistake and stop the Willow Project.

Statement from Quentin Scott, Federal Director for CCAN Action Fund:

“On behalf of CCAN Action Fund, we are very disappointed by President Biden’s decision today. We ask the President to rethink his decision and reverse course. In the hours before the record of decision on Willow, President Biden announced sweeping protection for Alaska’s land and water. Biden used his authority under Section 12(a) of the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act, withdrawing approximately 2.8 million acres of the Beaufort Sea in the Arctic Ocean nearshore in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska (NPR-A) as indefinitely off limits for future oil and gas leasing. In addition, Biden has directed the Department of Interior to designate 13 million acres as Special Areas in the NPR-A in recognition of their significant natural and historical values. Biden has shown he has the authority to prohibit oil drilling through executive action.”

“Since the final supplemental environmental impact statement was released on February 1, overwhelming public and scientific input has demonstrated that Willow poses a significant threat. Opposition has garnered more than 3.5 million petition comments, over 50 million social media views, and thousands of calls to the White House asking Biden to stop Willow. On March 3, Indigenous leaders and groups from Alaska traveled to Washington D.C. to rally in opposition to Willow and the climate disaster it will accelerate. President Biden still has the right to reverse his decision and we strongly urge him to do so.”

Authorization of the Willow project comes after an insufficient supplemental environmental review process that failed to assess the intense and cumulative impacts of the project on Arctic communities, lands and water, wildlife and the global climate. The deferral of two industrial pads for drilling operations within the record of decision simply means the U.S. Bureau of Land Management presumes the approval of any future pads that ConocoPhillips applies for in the years to come. The harm to communities and climate will be massive as the project turns into the industrial hub ConocoPhillips has always sought.

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The CCAN Action Fund is the advocacy arm of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network, the oldest and largest grassroots organization dedicated exclusively to raising awareness about the impacts and solutions associated with global warming in the Chesapeake Bay region. For 20 years, CCAN has been at the center of the fight for clean energy and wise climate policy in Maryland, West Virginia,  Virginia, and Washington, D.C.