Biden Administration approves a macro oil extraction project in the state of Alaska

A fuel truck from the 725th Brigade Support Battalion. – U.S. ARMY / ZUMA PRESS / CONTACTOPHOTO

The Biden Administration on Monday approved a controversial plan to drill for oil in Alaska’s North Slope, home to a field that holds nearly 600 million barrels of crude oil, a project that has been sharply criticized by environmental activists.

The Willow project, led by ConocoPhilips, proposes the construction of three drilling platforms, as well as a processing center facility, pipelines to transport oil, gravel roads, at least one airstrip and a mine.

In an attempt to mitigate concerns from groups that it will contribute to accelerating climate change, Biden has also approved a series of protections for federal lands and waters in Alaska, especially in important habitats for grizzly bears or migratory birds.

The Administration has also declared the Arctic Ocean a ‘red line’ for future oil and gas exploration. However, environmentalists argue that these additional measures will not alleviate the effect that the Willow project will have on the environment, as reported by CNN.

The White House had initially opted to approve the project with two drilling rigs, but under pressure from Alaska’s bipartisan congressional delegation – which supports the initiative and says it will bring jobs to the remote region – it was finally three.

According to the Administration’s own estimates, the project – which is likely to face legal challenges – will produce a total of 9.2 million metric tons of carbon pollution, equivalent to two million cars on the road.