Biden Administration's Approval of Willow Project will lock in decades of oil drilling, worsen the climate crisis, and hurt our communities

WASHINGTON— On Monday morning, President Biden’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM) gave formal approval to ConocoPhillips’ oil drilling project in Alaska known as Willow. This decision goes against the outcry of the environmental community and indigenous peoples located near the approved project.

The Biden Administration’s approval of the Willow project is a disappointing decision that is deeply at odds with the President’s ambitious climate goals of slashing carbon emissions by half by 2030 and conserving 30% of land and water by 2030. While the administration is also announcing restrictions on oil leasing in the Artic Ocean and across Alaska’s North Slope, any new oil drilling will exacerbate the climate crisis and reverse any progress the administration has accomplished.The Willow project guarantees at least three decades of disastrous oil drilling that will accelerate the climate crisis, will pollute public lands and waters, endanger critical habitat and threaten the wellbeing of indigenous communities nearby. The most recent IPCC reports clearly indicate the need to move away from fossil fuel extraction immediately and replace them with alternative energy in order to even have a chance of staying within the 1.5 degree warming limit.

The approval for the Willow project also comes out of insufficient permitting review that failed to assess the cumulative impacts on Arctic communities, lands and water, wildlife, and the global climate. These cumulative impacts will disproportionately impact Latino/a/e communities nationally alongside Black, Indigenous, Asian and other communities of color through the uniform over-exposure to deadly heat waves, storms, fires, floods and other outcomes of the climate crisis. Almost a quarter of U.S. climate pollution is sourced from public land extraction–the Willow project would increase the total amount of pollution sourced from the public trust.

GreenLatinos Founding President and CEO Mark Magaña released the following statement:

“The approval of the Willow project simply does not align with the urgency of the climate crisis and is incompatible with the DOI’s America The Beautiful Initiative. We are disappointed in President Biden’s decision to approve the Willow project which will undoubtedly harm Latino/a/e communities for decades to come. We urge President Biden and his administration to address oil and gas drilling on public lands as part of his climate ambitions. The Willow project is a major step back in our country’s climate progress and we must steer clear of any investments that will exacerbate ecological collapse causing adverse public health impacts to frontline comunidades throughout the United States.”


GreenLatinos is an active comunidad of Latino/a/x leaders, emboldened by the power and wisdom of our culture, united to demand equity and dismantle racism, resourced to win our environmental, conservation, and climate justice battles, and driven to secure our political, economic, cultural, and environmental liberation.

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