The Willow Project: The Broken Promises Of The Biden Administration


The Willow Project, a devastating ConocoPhillips company oil drilling project in Alaska’s National Petroleum Reserve region, has recently gained much traction angering climate activists and environmentalists in the past few months. On Mar 13, 2023, the Biden Administration officially approved this environmentally detrimental drilling project. 

The Willow Project was initially approved by the Trump Administration in 2020, but it was shot down in 2021 by a federal judge in Alaska, who blocked the construction permits. Then, on February 1st, 2023, the Bureau of Land Management issued an environmental analysis on the Willow Project, acting as one of the last measures before the Biden Administration approved the project. The Bureau of Land Management, in its analysis, stated how the project will be downsized from its original Five drilling pads to three, although this won’t mean much since the project would still produce an estimated 600 million barrels of oil over 30 years. The Administration itself estimates that the project will result in, “9.2 million metric tons of planet-warming carbon pollution a year.” This land being drilled is filled with untouched nature, and it is a key habitat for polar bears and other wildlife. This is arguably one of the most pressing active climate dangers we are facing in the U.S. today.

President Biden held environmental improvement, and the curbing of “new oil and gas drilling on public lands and water,” as big promise of his 2020 presidential campaign. The Willow Project, the Administration has approved, directly breaks and undermines these campaign promises. Biden said he planned to reach, “net-zero emissions no later than 2050.” The passing of this project is absolutely counterintuitive to this goal. One may ask why Biden is going against his environmental promises. There are multiple answers to this question. One being that there was not much Biden could do, due to the long-standing leases on the land the ConocoPhillips company had. ConocoPhillips company could have engaged the U.S. in a strong legal proceeding if blocked from engaging in the project. Another reason for the passing of the project could be Biden being lobbied by Alaskan officials to pass the bill. His bending to their will, could be due to the close split in Congress. Regardless of his reasoning for the passing of the Willow Project, it is an environmental disaster and unbecoming of Biden’s promises and presidency. Many climate activists are up in arms fighting against this project.

FDR high school is electrically powered by solar panels, a testament to the importance of clean energy. The Willow Project is something I’ve seen many of my fellow students rally against. No one really wants to ruin the environment. We need to take more initiative in stopping these mass injustices to our environment. This is not only for our sake, but the sake of all the future generations that come after us. I understand many people might be nihilistic, and hold no hope for the future of the human race- it’s a common thought among some. However, if we make no effort in saving the environment, we are not only dooming the human race, but every living creature on this beautiful planet.

There is hope created in action, and we will never know if our actions will amount to anything if we don’t act on them. Many current high school seniors will be 18 by the time of the next Presidential election. I urge you to take this into consideration as the next presidential election comes forth. You can also write a letter directly to the Biden Administration about your feelings and concerns- as potential voters, against the Willow Project.

I have left a link on how to send a letter to the White House down below. Let Biden know what you think and that your vote will be heard.