President Biden’s approval of the Willow Project, an oil-drilling project in Alaska, has sparked both outrage over its environmental impact and celebration for the jobs it will generate. Many see the approval as a victory for the state’s economy, while others view it as a betrayal by the president, who has made ambitious environmental protection promises.
The Conoco Phillips plan would build sites in the National Petroleum Reserve, which is federally owned. Among those hailing the approval are Alaska’s bipartisan Congressional Delegation and a coalition of Alaska native tribes.
The non-profit organization, Voice of the Arctic Iñupiat, released a statement thanking Biden for approving Willow, saying it “will provide overwhelming benefits to Alaska Native communities.”
Sen. Joe Manchin (D) of West Virginia also supported the drilling project. “I’m very pleased the decision was finally made, and I applaud them for doing it,” he said.
When reports of Biden’s consideration of the project came out, #StopWillow began trending on social media and posters with the hashtag hang around Washington, D.C.
The project was originally approved by former President Trump. Three of the five originally proposed sites were approved. The oil produced could release 9.2 million metric tons of carbon pollution yearly.
Willow is expected to create 2,500 jobs during construction and 300 permanent jobs, according to the office of Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy. It is estimated that it will add $8 billion to federal, state and local coffers.