Mar 14, 2023
The Biden administration announced that it has allowed an oil company to drill in Alaska. The company is called ConocoPhillips. It will set up three drilling sites in the North Slope area. The move drew criticism from environmentalists. They argue that the move is a change from promises President Biden had made.
ConocoPhillips’ Willow Project will include the digging of 219 new wells. The wells will be in Alaska’s National Petroleum Reserve. That's near the coast. The company says its efforts could produce 180,000 barrels of oil a day. It says 2,800 jobs will be created. They say it will create $8.7 billion in royalties and tax revenue. Alaska's senator supports the deal.
"We did it, Alaska!" she said. "What a huge and needed victory for all Alaska. This project will produce lasting … benefits."
Environmentalists were quick to point out the cons of the project. One leader told The Associated Press that Biden’s move was “disappointing.” She noted that the drilling could result in greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to those created by one million homes each year.
To balance that environmental impact, Biden officials put protections for other parts of Alaska in place. Some cheered the move. Others, though, weren't so sure.
"These … protections are the right decision at the right time,” one expert said. “(But) right now, no proposal poses a bigger threat … than ConocoPhillips' Willow project.”
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