Much to the dismay of many on TikTok, the Interior Department has approved the Willow Project. Environmentalists were trying hard to stop this project, and there was a petition started on Change.org to stop it. The Willow Project is a proposal from Conoco Phillips that would allow for drilling for oil and gas in Alaska. This proposal was for one of the largest drilling operations on public land. The area where the drilling is proposed is on the North Slope of the state. This project will produce 180,000 barrels of oil a day along with 2500 union construction jobs. The project that was approved was trimmed down from the original proposal, which was for five drilling sites. The Interior Department cut that down to three drilling sites.
The Interior Department said they consulted with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Army Corp of Engineers, Inupiat Community of the Arctic Slope, North Slope Borough, State of Alaska, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Native Village of Nuiqsut, and the City of Nuiqsut before making any decision. The Bureau of Land Management received a large amount of input from the public over this project. There were seven public meetings held, and more than 200,000 comments were submitted by the public during the public comment period.
The Sierra Club Executive Director Ben Jealous released a statement about the Willow Project approval, saying that "Biden and his administration have made it almost impossible to achieve the climate goals they set for public lands. Willow will be one of the largest oil and gas operations on federal public lands in the country, and the carbon pollution it will spew into the air will have devastating effects for our communities, wildlife, and the climate. We will suffer the consequences of this for decades to come."
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