Biden Administration Shows Support For Alaska Oil Drilling Project

The Biden administration, on Friday, signaled support for a major oil drilling project in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska, despite Biden’s campaign promise to end oil and gas leasing on federal lands. Sen. Lisa Murkowsi (R-AK), who supports the project, hailed the release of the assessment as a “major announcement.”

Major, yes. Good? “The announcement drew immediate condemnation from environmental groups, saying advancing the project is contrary to the president’s stated goals to address climate change,” writes the Anchorage Daily News. “Alaska’s political leaders have pressed the Biden administration to move the project forward, given the project’s potential in terms of oil production, jobs and revenues for the state.”

The project was initially approved by the Trump administration, then blocked by a federal court for failing to sufficiently consider climate and wildlife impacts, and supported by the Biden administration,

While the assessment is not final, pending a 45 day public comment period, the administration’s release of the assessment signals support, yet again, for the proposed multibillion dollar ConocoPhillips “Willow” project that, over its lifetime, would emit as much CO2 as a third of all US coal plants. “Totally furious that [@Interior] is one proforma step away from approving the ConocoPhillips Willow project,” CAP senior VP for energy and environment Christy Goldfuss tweeted Friday.

The company is believed to be proposing five drilling sites on federal land in Alaska’s North Slope, and the project would include a processing facility, pipelines to transport oil, gravel roads, at least one airstrip and a gravel mine site, the draft EIS report states.
Dyani Chapman, Alaska Environment state director, called it “absurd … Alaska does not need any part of it,” and pointed out it, “is a proposal to literally re-freeze the tundra that is melting because of climate change to drill for more oil that will be burned and make climate change worse.”

Sources: Washington Post $, New York Times $, Anchorage Daily NewsThe HillCNNWall Street Journal $

Related earlier (more optimistic) story: Interior Nixes Oil & Gas Lease Sales In Alaska & Gulf Of Mexico


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