Against a campaign promise, Biden allowed new oil drilling
US President Joe Biden’s administration has approved a controversial willow oil extraction project in the northern state of Alaska. That reports On Monday, the US government. US oil major ConocoPhillips, which has previously explored the area for oil, will carry out the drilling.
During his 2020 election campaign, Biden promised that no new oil and gas licenses would be issued by the federal government; With this conclusion he returns to it. On Sunday, Biden already announced that oil and gas extraction in Alaska would be severely restricted, but not before the $8 billion Willow project (7.5 billion euros) was approved, it now appears.
For climate activists, Washington’s decision is a blow; They pointed out that in recent months, with the hashtag #StopWillow, Biden has promised to bring about a turnaround in US climate policy as president. Granting new drilling licenses is against his election promises. There are also fears for the environment: the reserve where the drilling takes place is the largest piece of untouched nature in the entire United States. The area is important for many Arctic animals, for example as a breeding ground for birds.
180,000 barrels of oil per day
Either way, environmental rights group Earthjustice is likely to challenge Biden’s decision in court. President Abigail Dillon Wrote on Monday on TwitterWe’re too far into the climate crisis to approve massive oil and gas projects that undermine the clean economy the Biden administration says it wants to build.
The project has widespread support in Alaska itself. The Willow project, according to lobbyists and local governments, will create 2,500 jobs during construction of the sites and an additional 300 permanent jobs in the oil field afterward. Up to 180,000 barrels of oil a day could be extracted, generating billions in taxpayers’ money. Extraction currently accounts for only 1.5 percent of total U.S. oil production, but for Alaska, Willow is the biggest new project in recent decades. The economic benefits are so great that even representatives of the local Yupik people support the project. Nagruk Harsarek, head of the Arctic Inupiat Indigenous Advocacy Group He said before deciding We hope the government will continue to listen to indigenous leaders in the region so as not to “accommodate the will of groups of outsiders who have no connection to our land, our heritage and our people.” According to an AP News Agency tour, communities closest to a drilling site generally oppose the construction of drilling sites.
Republican and Democratic support
To accommodate critics Biden had already announced drastic cuts to future oil drilling leases in the region on Sunday. According to the US newspaper, the Ministry of Interior says The New York Times That’s it Drilling companies want more than half of the reserves to be completely shut down.
The divide between Republicans and Democrats is evident in this document, as usual. The Republican opposition believes Biden is too driven by climate considerations, and points to the economic benefits of oil and gas extraction. Additionally, they blame Biden for the sharp rise in energy prices over the past year, largely due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the economic recovery after the coronavirus pandemic.
But Biden’s own Democrats, who generally place more emphasis on energy transition than their Republican counterparts, are not all opposed to the Willow plan. Alaska Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski wrote along with two Republican and Democratic representatives from her state. Op-Ed for CNN News Channel, Willow calls for a button to allow drilling. “We all recognize the need for clean energy, but there is a huge gap between our ability to generate it and our daily energy needs,” they wrote last week. “We need oil, and compared to other countries, willow is the most climate-responsible choice.”
A version of this article appeared in the March 14, 2023 issue of the newspaper
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