What is the Willow Project?

What is the Willow Project?

The debate of The Willow Project is based on the question, Is it more beneficial to our economy or more harmful to our earth. What direction is mankind going to take this situation?

From the day people are born the saying “climate change” is put into their vocabulary. Many steps have been taken to try to reduce climate change. The climate crisis can’t be solved with just clean energy technology. The U.S. is ranked second as the largest emitter of climate pollution, to the planet. The increase of damage to our earth has been exponential. It has almost become an impossible task to allow human industrialization to grow without damaging the atmosphere and earth. A negative correlation is apparent between damage to our earth and evolution of humanity. The Willow project can boost economic growth, but it can tear down our planet.

The Willow project was originated from Trump Administration, but it was blocked by a federal judge because it had an insufficient environmental review. Now the Biden Administration is advancing it forward.

Activists have become upset with President Biden for enforcing the production of the Willow Project. They believe he is backtracking on his campaign statements and changing his original beliefs. It has been known to the public that resolving climate change was a top priority to him. In previous times he has accelerated the expansion of clean energy including wind and solar power and he attempted to reduce the use of fossil fuels. Administration says there was important issues that influenced the project but there was not enough to stop it. He made other promises to the nation besides climate change such as high oil and gasoline prices. This project could affect Biden’s next campaign.

As of March 13th, 2023, Biden administration approved the Willow Project. But The Interior Department reduced the size of the project by denying two out of the five drill sites.

What is the Willow project

An oil extraction project, proposed by the oil company ConocoPhilips. It will take place on Alaska’s Northern slope which is a part of federal land. The National Petroleum Reserve (NPR-A) is the nation’s largest piece of public land. NPR-A was founded by President Warren G. Harding in 1923 and was important to the Naval Petroleum Reserves Production Act in 1976. ConocoPhilips proposed five drilling sites for this project, it is intended to produce 180,000 barrels of oil a day, 576 million barrels over 30 years. It could possibly take up to three decades to extract the oil. ConocoPhilips has plans to install chillers to keep permafrost frozen under the equipment. This has become the biggest oil production to be considered to take place in the country and is estimated to cost anywhere from eight to ten billion dollars. Production has started with the gravel mining and road construction, there will be a total of 499 acres of land.

Positive effects of the project (Economical)

  • It is a way to bring down gas prices and have more affordable energy.
  • It creates jobs for people who would work on the National Petroleum Reserve to produce the oil.
  • Communities would benefit from the taxes that would come from the project.
  • The Willow project boosts the domestic production which will lessen the country’s reliance on foreign oil.
  • Alaska Native groups support the project, they believe it to be a new source of revenue for the region and will fund services including education and health care.
  • It is estimated to produce billions of dollars of economic activity and tax revenue in Alaska.


Negative effects on the earth

  • More than 250 million metric tons of carbon dioxide are estimated to be added to the earth’s atmosphere over the next 30 years, with the production of the Willow Project.
  • The Willow project could create pollution that is equivalent to 76 coal-fired power plants or driving 1.7 million gasoline powered cars a year.
  • The area of the production will be vulnerable to climate change as the Artic is the fastest warming region on earth. This is because the Artic Ocean absorbs 90 percent of solar radiation.
  • It affects the lives of indigenous Alaskans and the vulnerable caribou population that native communities rely on.
  • The project may harm local animal populations and lessen the region’s air quality.
  • There is a possibility of lead spills, leaks, and blowouts.


Credible sources opinions

  • The University of Manchester’s Tyndall Center for Climate Change says that there is no more room for any new fossil fuel production facilities, for global warming to be limited to 1.5 degrees Celsius.
  • “Our Native Villages are eroding into the sea, thawing permafrost is making infrastructure insecure, and food sources are disappearing. And this project would just exacerbate and speed up the climate crisis in the artic” (Itchoak. March 14, 2023. Open Access Government).
  • S. Representative, Mary Peltola said, “Such consensus in the region and across Alaska that this project is a god Project.” (PBS)
  • “Not only will this mean jobs and revenue for Alaska, it will be resources that are needed for the country and for our friend and allies. The Administration listened to the delegation as we pressed the case for energy security and national security” (Murkowski. PBS)
  • Senior scientist, Michael Lazarus, at the Stockholm Environment Institute said, “We’re Locking in emissions for 30 years into the future when we should be on a reduction schedule.” (PBS)
  • ConocoPhilips chief executive said, “This was the right decision for Alaska and our nation… Willow fits within the Biden Administration’s priorities on environmental and social justice, facilitating the energy transition and enhancing our energy security.” (Wood Mackenzie)

There are many petitions online that oppose the project. These petitions have more than three million signatures, as of now. On Change.org there is a petition with 1,362,120 signatures and it keeps growing every minute.

This project has a huge impact on our environment and many people want it to be put to an end. But is it going to benefit our economy? It is up to people to keep the earth protected. You are allowed make a change. If you believe it is going to harm your planet, make your opinion heard.