(UnitedVoice.com) – President Joe Biden has made climate change a cornerstone of his administration. That doesn’t mean he’s not willing to break with the party when necessary. He did just that when he green-lit a project in Alaska.
On Monday, March 13, the Department of Interior approved a massive oil development project on federal lands in Alaska. Known as the Willow Project, it involves three of the five drilling sites that ConocoPhillips proposed on Alaska’s North Slope. The 30-year plan is projected to create thousands of jobs and produce 600 million barrels of oil.
The Washington Post reported the Interior Department didn’t give a full explanation about its decision. However, the federal agency did point to the fact that ConocoPhillips has held the leasing rights to the North Slope region since the 1990s. The department also stated the project was significantly scaled back.
Environmentalists are furious with Biden for allowing the project to continue, despite months of lobbying to stop it. Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) slammed the decision on Twitter, saying it’s a “disastrous decision” that “will have devastating consequences on our planet, frontline communities, and wildlife.”
.@POTUS pledged to end new drilling on federal lands.
This disastrous decision to approve the Willow Project in Alaska, one of the largest oil development projects in decades, will have devastating consequences on our planet, frontline communities, and wildlife. pic.twitter.com/RAZikTpVTt
— Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib (@RepRashida) March 13, 2023
The Sunrise Movement, which fights for climate policies, claimed the president is allowing Big Oil to have its way instead of honoring the promises he made.
President Biden officially approved the Willow Project.
Instead of sticking to his own climate goals and listening to the millions of young people who carried the party for the last three election cycles, @POTUS is letting the fossil fuel industry have their way. pic.twitter.com/45mjJflMYK
— Sunrise Movement 🌅 (@sunrisemvmt) March 13, 2023
Senator Ed Markey (D-MA), the co-author of the Green New Deal, called the project approval a “mistake” and said the country is going to “regret [it] for generations.”
.@POTUS is wrong. The approval of a massive oil development project on federal lands is a mistake we will regret for generations. The Willow project’s devastating consequences will be suffered by all of us. We must move forward not backward.
— Ed Markey (@SenMarkey) March 13, 2023
Groups are already promising to sue. Christy Goldfuss, an executive at the Natural Resources Defense Council, said the organization intends to “consider every appropriate tool” to fight the administration’s decision. “Willow is a project out of time,” she said. Greenpeace USA and the Sierra Club are two groups calling out Biden for his actions.
Meanwhile, ConocoPhillips announced it would begin moving forward with the project immediately.
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