The Willow Project: How bad is it?

Climate activists around the globe – not those exclusively to the United States – are anxious for what the Willow Project will bring to the already-uphill battle we are facing.

With President Biden’s latest approval, what can Americans expect to change throughout the country, and what can the world brace for environmentally?

The facts:

An oil drilling project by ConocoPhillips, Alaska’s largest crude oil producer and petroleum refinery company, Willow will be located in the North Slope of Alaska in the National Petroleum Reserve. This will provide up to 600 million barrels of oil once the project is finished.

In terms of gasoline, this equates to three quattuordecillion (3 x 10^14) barrels, with 500,000 barrels of gasoline produced per one million barrels of crude oil. In simpler terms, that is a lot of gas!

This would mean the U.S. and its associated partners would no longer be reliant on oil imports from regions such as Russia, which became even more of an issue after the start of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Not only will the oil be a benefit from this project, but the jobs it will supply to Alaska’s inhabitants will help its large unemployment percentage as compared to other U.S. states. According to ConocoPhillips, the project is anticipated to create roughly 350 permanent jobs and over 2,000 construction jobs through its lengthy establishment.

The concerns:

From an environmental standpoint, the project alone could create as many emissions as 1/3 of all of the coal plants throughout the country, with a projection of 278 million metric tons of greenhouse gas released into the atmosphere during its lifetime. If we are aiming to produce less emissions and make more green-minded efforts to protect our planet, this project may not have been in our best interest.

The project will last for the next 30 years, pumping out harmful greenhouse gases into our atmosphere and dimming out the hope of climate activists alike. Indigenous groups that reside in and continue to protect Alaska against the crushing weight of government intervention have bound together to sue the Biden administration over this project.

Their fears range from the lack of environmental awareness of the administration and consideration of what this will potentially do to our climate, to the damage of protected land and wildlife.

Even as President Biden erects new national monuments of federally sheltered land, the irony is not lost. If Willow goes through, it will hurt the caribou population that Indigenous peoples rely on for sustenance, and the native communities may never recover from this loss. New national monuments will not make up for those subjected to drilling and excavation for replaceable forms of energy.

In the case of the Willow Project, it is hard to see how the potential pros outweigh the cons, unless one is viewing it from an economical and gas-production standpoint. If one chooses to look at the potential impact, both environmentally and morally, they may feel differently.

Visit if you are interested in stating your stance on Willow.