Approval of Willow Oil and Gas Project A Betrayal of Biden’s Climate Goals

WASHINGTON, D.C. — President Joe Biden’s administration today formally approved a massive Alaskan Arctic oil and gas drilling project known as Willow. In response, Robert Weissman, president of Public Citizen, issued the following statement: 

“The Biden administration’s plan to allow ConocoPhillips to drill for oil in the remote Alaskan wilderness represents a climate disaster and a betrayal of the Biden administration’s climate and conservation goals. The Willow project in Alaska would produce up to 287 million metric tons of carbon dioxide over the next 30 years, equivalent to one year of emissions from 76 coal power plants—a third of all U.S. coal plants.

“Enabling massive new drilling projects is completely contrary to the imperative of speeding the transition to 100 percent renewable fuels. Rejecting this project should have been an easy decision for the administration. 

“It’s a myth that authorizing the Willow project will benefit consumers and U.S. energy self-sufficiency and is therefore politically savvy. Consumers are people who have a vital interest in averting climate chaos. Moreover, oil production from Willow will not happen for several years, meaning it can have no short-term impact on consumer prices, which are in any case falling from the post-Ukraine invasion spike. Nor will the project improve U.S. energy self-sufficiency. The U.S. is now a net oil exporter. More drilling effectively just means we export more oil to the rest of the world.

“While President Biden has notched notable victories on climate, oil and gas interests appear to be gaining influence in the Biden administration, promoting an unsustainable agenda of oil and gas drilling and exporting fossil fuels to countries around the world, including China. Doing so will irreparably damage the planet and raise costs for American consumers in the process.”

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