The Controversy of the Willow Project


Shyler Yost

Earlier this week, President Biden announced his approval for the Willow Project. The Willow Project is a massive drilling project that will occur on Alaska’s North Slope, and it will involve drilling for oil and gas at three sites for numerous decades. This project is supposed to be located on the National Petroleum Reserve, which is a federal area that consists of around 23 million acres of land. The Willow Project is projected to produce about 576 million barrels of oil over 30 years, which is nearly 180,000 barrels per day.

According to Alaskan lawmakers, this new project will create more jobs for citizens, lead to an increase in domestic energy production, and lessen American dependence on foreign oil. Some Alaskan natives living near the North Slope hope that the project can provide revenue for the region and therefore fund other services like healthcare and education for Alaskans. The main argument for the Willow Project is the potential of economic gain for the country. However, despite these potential benefits, other Americans have found many issues that the Willow Project poses to the planet.

The Biden administration estimates that the project would generate enough oil to release 9.2 million metric tons of carbon pollution annually, which is the equivalent of adding 2 million gas-powered cars to roads. Many climate activists find this to be a major problem as it contributes drastically to the already present problem of climate change. Since the approval of the Willow Project, more than 1 million letters have been sent to the White House to express disapproval and concern. A petition has also been created and has received millions of signatures with hopes of ceasing this project.

I am anxious to see what happens to the Willow Project in the future. I personally worry about the dangers that the Willow Project poses to the environment despite the amount of economic benefit and promise that this project possesses. News sites have reported that it’s likely the project will be take to court, and an environmental group called Earthjustice has already started preparing a complaint and gathering evidence to support their argument against the Willow Project. I am curious to see if the project’s legality will be discussed – if it continues to be supported and implemented, our very planet could be in danger.



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Nilsen, E. (2023) The willow project has been approved. here’s what to know about the controversial oil-drilling venture | CNN politics, CNN. Cable News Network. Available at: (Accessed: March 15, 2023).
Milman, O., Lakhani, N. and Singh, M. (2023) Biden approves controversial Willow Oil Drilling Project in Alaska, The Guardian. Guardian News and Media. Available at: (Accessed: March 15, 2023).