Biden approval of Willow Project adds further fire to environmental controversy

Addie Gerber, Staff Reporter

On March 13, the Biden administration approved the Willow Project, a project designed to extract oil from Alaska’s North Slope, after weeks of protests. But how will this project affect us?

The Willow Project is a 30-year-long oil drilling project on Alaska’s North Slope in the National Petroleum Reserve. The project will be drilling the 600 million barrels of oil the National Petroleum Reserve holds in its soil.

Even though this project means the U.S. will reduce its reliance on imported oil, it also will enable continued over-reliance on oil in place of more desirable, less harmful renewable energy resource.

The Willow Project will generate enough oil to release 9.2 million metric tons of carbon pollution a year, which is equivalent to 2 million gas-powered cars being added to the roads each year. This will ultimately increase global warming as we know it.

Humans are not the only ones dealing with the effects of global warming; the Arctic ecosystems are feeling the effects as well.

With the Arctic already warming at four to five times faster than the rest of the world, the Willow Project could potentially lead to the virtual destruction of the Arctic region.

Not only could it release carbon pollution into the atmosphere, but the Willow Project can also result in gas leaks, increasing the chance for other cataclysmic environmental issues in the future.

Even after President Biden promised to dismiss non-renewable energy sources, such as new oil and gas drilling projects, he continues to defend the Willow Project — an unnatural response given the potential impact on the natural world.

The potential benefits of the Willow Project are overshadowed by its very real potential to do irrevocable harm to our most important natural resource — our planet as a whole.