Despite how the effects of climate change are becoming harder to ignore, President Joe Biden and his administration recently approved a large oil drilling project set to take place in Alaska called the Willow project.
Willow is an oil reserve in Arctic Alaska and resides on the nation’s largest piece of public land, according to The Washington Post. This region in Alaska is home to many native animals like polar bears, caribou and waterfowl.
This reserve holds up to 600 million barrels of oil and would generate enough fossil fuels to release 9.2 million metric tons of carbon pollution a year. This would be equal to adding 2 million gas-powered cars to the road, according to CNN.
Those in support of the project claim that getting oil from Alaska to keep a stable domestic supply is environmentally cleaner than importing fossil fuels from outside of the U.S.
The Willow project will take place on public land, which goes against Biden’s campaign promises in 2020 to ban new oil drilling on public lands. At the time, everyone knew this was a big promise and would probably be hard to keep, but with the effects of fossil fuels becoming more dangerous to the planet, we were happy to hear that Biden wanted to do something about it.
I think that it’s great that many people are seeing the effects of climate change and oil drilling, using their platforms to speak out against Biden’s approval of the Willow project.
Now that Biden has gone back on his promise, activists are outraged. The hashtag #StopWillow was trending on the platform TikTok. Environmentalists are elated to see the issue get so much attention.
“I’ve been doing this for a long time and it’s very rare to see a climate issue go viral,” said Alaina Wood to CNN. She is a scientist and climate activist who has taken her work to TikTok in hopes of reaching more people.
Many other activists continued to speak out against the Willow project, inspired by the activism on social media. More than one million letters were mailed to the White House in protest, according to CNN.
No matter how the administration attempts to justify the Willow project and tell us it will be “cleaner” than getting our oil abroad, I know it is still going to contribute to climate change, and I feel appalled by how Biden opted to disregard his campaign promise.
One of the other reasons this drilling project is controversial is because it goes against the effort to stop the use of fossil fuels worldwide.
The Biden administration may have given the Willow project a stamp of approval, but environmental law groups like Earthjustice refuse to let it happen without a fight. Earthjustice intends to file a complaint against the project, seeking an injunction to shut down the Willow Project before it even commences.
Jeremy Lieb, an Alaska-based senior attorney for Earthjustice, told CNN that “we and our clients don’t see any acceptable version of this project.”
I think that it’s great that many people are seeing the effects of climate change and oil drilling, using their platforms to speak out against Biden’s approval of the Willow project. Despite this, it doesn’t seem like the Biden administration will go back on this approval like they have gone back on their campaign promises.
Featured photo courtesy of @fightfossils, Twitter