Is the Willow Project Worth the Cost?



A forest with a road running through it, proof that humans have touched almost every part of our earth.

Anna Earl, Editor

In today’s world, misinformation runs rampant due to technology and increased internet platforms that allow users to post almost any information that they wish, without any fact checking. Lately, discussion of the Willow Project has been all over social media, but it’s hard to know what’s true and what’s false. 

So what is the Willow Project?  According to CNN, on March 13, the Biden Administration approved the Willow Project, which will allow for three new drilling pads to be constructed in Alaska. It will ultimately produce 600 million barrels of oil and will release carbon emissions equivalent to 9.2 million metric tons.

The Biden Administration has faced criticism for allowing the company, ConocoPhillips, to drill. However, the project was originally approved by the Trump Administration in 2020, meaning the company already had all of the licenses and permits needed to operate. Trump had originally approved the construction of five drilling pads. Although it is commonly believed that the Biden Administration could have stopped the project, it had already been approved, therefore, the most Biden could do was limit the project.

Although it will add large amounts of oil into the market, and help combat the rising gas prices, the oil will take many years to begin circulation because the entire site needs to be built, with a small window of time to build it because the ice is only thick enough to drive the equipment through during winter. The project will have more negatives than positives. It will have important impacts on the environment and the ecosystems according to Earthjustice, a climate action group which is suing the company.

According to the group’s website the project will cause destruction of habitats of already endangered species, disrupted migration patterns, and potential harmful conditions for Alaskan Natives and animals.

In addition to support from Earthjustice, the project received backlash from the general public, with more than three million signatures against the project, and one million letters to the White House. To help show opposition to the project, Protect the Arctic has created a script for a letter and a phone call to President Biden and his secretary. All you have to do is fill in the blanks with your name and location. Another option is to use the hashtag #stopwillow to show your opposition to the bill. Although the project has been approved, it can be stalled until next year because the ice will melt in April, stopping transportation to the site. This buys time for climate action groups to be able to stop the project completely.