The government needs to prioritize the future over profit with the Willow Project


Bruno Brown

The Willow Project is a dangerous reminder that the government’s lust for fuel and money overwhelms their long term goals for environmental protections. 

The Willow Project, a proposal by ConocoPhillips that was recently approved by President Joe Biden, will involve oil drilling inside the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska, the reserve which currently is the largest undisturbed tract of public land in America. 

According to The Associated Press, extracting and using the oil from the proposed project would produce 278 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions over 30 years. This would be the equivalent to the emissions of about two million passenger cars over the same time period. 

According to ConocoPhillips, the project would lead to $17 billion in revenue for federal and state governments as well as local Alaskan communities. This will be one of the biggest oil projects in recent years and marks a stark contrast to Biden’s campaign against new oil and gas drilling. 

This could lead to a lot of problems. The introduction of additional greenhouse gas emissions is exactly what should be fought against. We still lack the technology to nullify existing greenhouse gas emissions and have not gotten to a point where our emissions are within an acceptable range that won’t cause extreme damage to our environment in the future or in the present. 

Similarly we do not have the technology to properly take care of other environmental hazards that could stem from this issue, for example oil spills. If America cannot take care of its other environmental issues why should it add on another?

However, it is important to note that the Alaskan economy is struggling right now. Due to poor regulations and the effects of global warming, the fishing industry has significantly diminished, and countless jobs could possibly be made by the proposed project. But after the natural resources are all exploited the jobs will likely go away, leading to having neither jobs nor environmental stability to fall back on. 

Overall the Willow Project poses many issues and primarily justifies those issues with the possibility of financial gain. We should be less concerned about short term rewards like the revenue of this project and look more broadly at the perhaps drastic environmental effects that could occur because of the increase in emissions.