Willow Project Causes Deadly Increase in Carbon Emissions


Michael Grijalva

The Willow Project will lead to irreversible damage if actions are not taken to counter its consequences.

Angelina Abdelrahman, Editorial Editor

The burning of fossil fuels has caused life-threatening issues for the world. For instance, increase in global temperatures has caused and continues to spark wildfires and drought, while altered water temperatures have put various species at risk and endanger species living on land. We already face these issues, and scientists have created various solutions and technologies to help mitigate these issues such as wind turbines, electric vehicles, and solar panels. But all those advancements may mean nothing when the Willow Project is established and ruins the environment by releasing 277 million metric tons of carbon dioxide for a total of 30 years, according to Shannon Osaka in her Washington Post article.

The ConocoPhillips’ Willow Project was introduced to the Biden Administration by the company ConocoPhillips with the aim to drill 600 million barrels of oil into Alaska’s National Petroleum Reserve. 9.2 million metric tons of carbon dioxide will be released each year into the atmosphere as a result of the Willow Project argues Ella Nilsen in her CNN Politics article. The Trump Administration approved the project in 2020, declaring the construction of 5 drill pads, as reported by Nilsen. The Biden Administration has approved the $8 million project as of 2023, except with 3 drilling pads instead of 5, according to Nilsen. The approval and construction of this horrible project will create such a negative environmental impact that all the progress environmentalists and scientists have made to save the planet with clean energy and technology.

There are many arguments for the Willow Project, such as supporting the economy, helping people receive jobs, and developing US foreign policy. Supporters of this harmful project include the Alaskan Native Groups. They believe this project will support them in receiving funds for healthcare and education. An argument for establishing the Willow Project states that even if the United States works to end all oil drilling and releasing fossil fuels into the atmosphere, other countries will still work to make up for our mitigation and removal and it will release the same amount into the air.

Moreover, the United States currently largely relies on foreign countries such as Russia for oil. This is especially emerging as a problem because of the war between Russia and Ukraine. President Biden has made efforts to demonstrate American support for Ukraine through sanctions and has cut off certain relations concerning oil with Russia, which can be observed through the increase in our gas prices, Scott Detrow and Alana Wise report in their NPR article. As a result of this issue, the Willow Project may pose a benefit because it will help the United States part from relying on foreign oil and gas.

Although these arguments may be valid at first glance, they are ultimately excuses for the real issue at hand: the United States and countries around the world need to focus on creating various advancements and technologies to STOP RELYING ON OIL AND GAS! Yes, that is a long process that will cause businesses to lose money and may not make a huge impact at first but solutions take time. America relies on manufacturing, factories, and letting businesses that work with gas and oil stay alive. Nevertheless, there are many ways these issues can be solved. We can replace it. For instance, gas cars can become electric and we can create electricity with solar panels and wind turbines that will ultimately replace oil. The Willow Project is not a step forward, it is a step backward.

Change can only happen if policies and eco-friendly projects are made, and the government works to support the environment. If we keep letting carbon emission be released into the atmosphere there will be no world to live in soon. This Willow Project proves how the world will fall apart as a result of the lack of regulation from the government and awareness of our environment. We need to do better.