President Joe Biden approved an oil drilling project called the Willow Project on March 13. As stated by the Frontiersman, drilling will begin by 2029.
The project will take place in the National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska. Prior to its approval, the project was said to represent “the biggest U.S. oil field in decades.”
As stated by CNN, “The Willow Project is a decades-long oil drilling venture in the National Petroleum Reserve, which is owned by the federal government. The area where the project is planned holds up to 600 million barrels of oil, though that oil would take years to reach the market since the project has yet to be constructed.”
A day before approval, Biden said he will bar oil drilling in millions of acres in the Arctic Ocean. As stated by CBS News, Biden also said he will add new protections in the petroleum reserve in Alaska.
Concerns over the project have been voiced all the way from teenagers to politicians. As stated by CBS News, “Mr. Biden’s decision pits Alaska lawmakers against environmental groups and many Democrats in Congress who say the project is out of step with his goals to slash planet-warming carbon emissions in half by 2030 and move to clean energy.”
A campaign spread online under the name #StopWillow to garner signatures in support of stopping the Willow Project. People are posting on TikTok, Twitter and Instagram to promote the petition.
Posts of concern spread online with input and information for those who didn’t originally know about the project and decision.
The petition has since gathered almost 5 million signatures, but did not stop its approval.
As stated on openaccessgovernment.org, the project’s effects during its 30-year timespan would equal the same amount of greenhouse gasses that two million vehicles would create in the same timespan.
Within one year, the project would create over 9 million metric tons of carbon pollution.
“Evidence has shown that the project would produce the equivalent of more than 278 million tonnes (306 million short tonnes) of greenhouse gasses over its 30-year life. This number is roughly equal to the combined emissions from two million passenger cars over the same time period,” as stated by openaccessgovernment.org.
There is an organization called Earthjustice trying to sue on behalf of conservation groups to stop the Willow Project. As stated by Earthjustice.org, Biden’s approval of the project will go against his promises to cut the amount of greenhouse-gas emissions in half by 2030.
While it may not seem like a big issue now, the fate of the environment is possibly being held in this project’s hands.