Biden approves controversial Alaska oil project
Criticized by environmental groups, the Willow Project will be one of the largest on American soil and should provide up to 576 million barrels of oil over 30 years.
In an effort to calm tempers, the US government says it is working on additional protections in a large area of the national reserve. It also announced that it intends to permanently halt drilling in a large area of the Arctic Ocean near the reserve. “We know that President Biden understands the existential threat of climate, but he is passing a bill that derails his climate goals,” Dillen said. The US president acknowledged the risk to the environment, but promised to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from 50% to 52% by 2030, a target set in the Paris Agreement. The bill’s sponsors and lawmakers predict the measure will create millions of jobs and play a key role in America’s energy independence. The expectation is that the maximum production of oil barrels per day will be 180 thousand. “The Willow Project is critically important to Alaska’s economy, good-paying jobs for our families, and the future prosperity of our state. This decision is also critical to our national security and the environment,” said Alaska Republican Senator Dan Sullivan. However, environmental associations are treating the project as a “disaster”. “Willow will be one of the largest oil and gas operations on federal public lands in the country. The carbon pollution it will release into the air will have devastating effects on our people, wildlife and climate. We will suffer the consequences for decades to come,” warned the environmental organization Sierra Club.
The project was approved by the former president Donald Trump, but a judge sent it back for further government review. The Bureau of Land Management released an environmental analysis of the material in early February. The body detailed an alternative that aims to reduce it to three drilling sites instead of five, with approximately 219 wells. The result of the analysis shows the production of 576 million barrels of oil in approximately 30 years and the emission of 9.2 million tons of CO2 per year.
*With information from AFP