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The willow project: an environmental disaster

Updated: Feb 13

Author: Camille Chaar

Date of Publication: 04/05/2023



On Monday, March 13, 2023, Joe Biden gave his authorization for the Willow project. In particular, this is one of the largest oil projects in the United States. However, this project is considered the largest controversial project of today because of its environmental impact.


What is Project Willow?


The project, worth nearly eight million dollars, was launched by the American oil extraction company ConocoPhillips. Specifically, it will allow the production of 576 million barrels of oil. In fact, this is the equivalent of 180,000 barrels of oil per day, for the next 30 years. The figures say that it’s the equivalent of 40% of Alaska's current oil production. What’s more, a total of three drilling sites have been approved, representing approximately 219 oil extraction wells. These three sites are to extend within the Alaska National Petroleum Reserve. So, this is more than nine million hectares in the southern Arctic Ocean.


These lands belong to the US state at the federal level. Thus, the Willow project becomes "one of the largest in this type of area in Alaska". The supporters of the project defend the financial windfall that the project represents for the region. According to Cocono Philipps, the project will generate at least 2,000 jobs, including 300 in the long term. The administration of Joe Biden believes that the project will increase the energy independence of the United States.


What are the consequences?


According to environmental organizations, Project Willow will have devastating consequences. This will not only affect the climate, but also the wildlife in Alaska. Project Willow alone will emit 280 million tons of CO2 over the next 30 years. Actually, this is the equivalent of nearly two million new gasoline-powered cars per year.

alaska oil spillage

For environmentalists and some Americans, this is a real " betrayal" on the part of Joe Biden. By turning his jacket, the president of the United States has triggered a wave of protest on social networks, too. So, reactions were not long in coming. A major mobilization was organized on TikTok, where the hashtag #StopWillowProject has more than 260 million

views. Also, a petition against the project gathered nearly four million signatures.


As little consolation, Joe Biden has promised to reduce US greenhouse gas emissions by 50% by 2030.


polar bear affected by environmental changes

 

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