The Biden administration gave the green light to an enormous $8 billion Alaskan oil drilling project and internet climate warriors are losing their minds.
“This is a short-sighted, myopic move one would expect from the GOP, not from an environmentally-aware administration,” wrote “Family Guy” creator Seth McFarlane. “Do better, Biden.”
The 30-year-long Willow Project, helmed by oil company ConocoPhillips, was originally approved by the Trump administration, but was put on hold for years when climate groups filed legal challenges and a federal judge ordered additional environmental analyses.
According to Fox News Digital, the project is expected to extract 180,000 barrels of oil per day from the National Petroleum Reserve (NPR-A), and produce 614 million barrels over its three decade lifespan.
The infrastructure related to the project will create over 2,500 construction jobs to build at least 250 wells, miles of pipeline, and roads; along with a processing plant, gravel mine, and an airport.
It is estimated that the venture will generate $17 billion in revenue for the federal government, state of Alaska, and local indigenous communities.
Climate activists have been losing their minds since last week, when the Department of Interior approved three of the five drilling sites ConocoPhillips proposed.
They complained that the land the oil company plans to drill on is the “U.S.’s largest remaining swathes of untouched wilderness.”
According to the government, the project itself will release 9.2 million metric tons of carbon into the atmosphere.
“President Biden today approved the Willow oil project in Alaska on the largest tract of pristine land in the US,” criticized environmental lawyer Steven Doziger.
“This will create catastrophic pollution for decades just as the planet reaches the tipping point. Willow will have deadly results.”
“He pledged to end drilling on federal lands,” Gen-Z activist Elize Joshi tweeted.
“Millions of us collectively urged him not to approve Willow and took over the internet in doing so. And he did it anyways.”
Two Change.org petitions pressing Biden to put a halt to the Willow Project received 4.5 million signatures, and the hashtag #StopWillow went viral.
“If this story is right, it’s a complete betrayal of Biden’s promise not to allow more drilling and a complete catastrophe to rein in climate chaos,” tweeted Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) on Friday.
“You can’t ask other countries to forgo their fossil fuels if we keep greenlighting projects here in America.”
Over the weekend, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre lauded Biden’s commitment to protecting the environment.
“President Biden is delivering on the most aggressive climate agenda of any U.S. president in history and spurring an unprecedented expansion of clean energy,” she said on Saturday.
“The Department of the Interior (DOI) will make an independent decision on the Willow Project,” Jean-Pierre claimed.
“No final decisions have been made — anyone who says there has been a final decision is wrong.”
When the White House announced it was moving forward with the proposal, they tried to smooth over the decision with environmental opposers by pointing out that two of the originally proposed drilling sites were rejected.
“The Record of Decision denies two of the five drill site pads proposed by ConocoPhillips, reducing the project’s drill pads by 40 percent,” the DOI remarked.
“The concurrent relinquishment of 68,000 acres by the company of its existing northernmost and southernmost leases within the Bear Tooth Unit reduces the Bear Tooth Unit’s footprint in the NPR-A by one-third.”
“This reduces the project’s freshwater use and eliminates all infrastructure related to the two rejected drill sites, including approximately 11 miles of roads, 20 miles of pipelines, and 133 acres of gravel, all of which reduces potential impacts to caribou migration and subsistence users,” the statement concluded.
Earthjustice, an environmental law group, is already planning to challenge the decision in court.
“We are too late in the climate crisis to approve massive oil and gas projects that directly undermine the new clean economy that the Biden Administration committed to advancing,” commented Earthjustice President Abigail Dillensaid.
“We know President Biden understands the existential threat of climate, but he is approving a project that derails his own climate goals.”