(Washington D.C.) Today, despite major opposition from the climate justice community, including Sovereign Iñupiat for a Living Arctic and Alaska Wilderness League, President Biden approved the Willow Oil Drilling Project – a major oil drilling operation to be constructed on Alaska’s North Slope.
The decision ignores widespread opposition that grew rapidly since Feb. 1st, when the Biden administration signaled it would approve the project in the release of its final environmental impact statement. In the month following, over 2.3 million new comments were submitted to the White House urging President Biden to deny the project. #StopWillow videos from a diverse array of young creators went viral online, with an estimated 200+ million views across social platforms.
Though Biden also announced a moratorium on additional fossil fuel extraction in Arctic Alaska outside of this project, the Willow Oil Project still locks us into decades of fossil fuel pollution at a time when we desperately need to stop all new fossil fuel projects and begin rapidly phasing out existing production.
Jeff Ordower, 350.org’s North America Director, responded:
“President Biden claims to prioritize climate justice, yet today’s decision reveals that he is quick to cater to pressure from Big Oil over the needs of the people. Biden absolutely has the power to reject ALL new fossil fuel projects, declare a climate emergency, and truly fight for both our people and our planet. Frontline communities and scientists have been clear that that is the only way forward unless we want to exacerbate climate harm and drive our world further into climate chaos.
The Biden administration made huge strides last year by passing the Inflation Reduction Action. Yet this decision is counter to his own stated desire to transition the U.S. economy to renewables. We need President Biden to stop prioritizing short-term profits for Big Oil. Approving the Willow Project directly harms frontline and Indigenous communities in Alaska. This decision betrays Biden’s own climate promises. The fight to halt all new fossil fuel projects, including Willow, isn’t over. Our movement is only growing – and we’ll continue to fight for people and planet over profit.”
Press Contact: Melanie Smith, [email protected]