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The Suffolk Journal

Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

Biden administration to decide on fate of Willow Project

Julia Fusco

President Joe Biden’s administration is expected to make a final decision on the Willow Project, an oil drilling project in Alaska’s Natural Petroleum Reserve, in the coming days. The project has sparked backlash amongst environmental experts. 

The Biden administration first released a study on Feb. 1 in support of the project’s proposal. However, their choice should be obvious.

There are some benefits to drilling. According to ConocoPhillips Alaska, the state’s largest crude oil producer and company at the forefront of the project proposal, the project at its peak is estimated to produce approximately 180,000 barrels of oil.

Economics aside, this creates a problem for those native to the area, the majority of whom oppose the tolling project. Nuiqsut Mayor Rosemary Ahtuangaruak and other Nuiqsut city and tribal officials argued in a letter to Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland that Nuiqsut would be forced to deal with the majority of effects, according to CNN.

“[Some] villages get some financial benefits from oil and gas activity but experience far fewer impacts [than] Nuiqsut,” the letter said. “We are at ground zero for the industrialization of the Arctic.”

The climate effects that Ahtuangaruak brings up are serious. According to the Sierra Club, the project could dump roughly 250 million metric tons of carbon into the atmosphere over 30 years. Environment America also points out that the infrastructure needed to maintain the project will shatter ecosystems that are already fragile.

“The Willow project would have a devastating effect on public lands and our climate, and approving it after passing the largest climate bill in history would be a giant step in reverse,” the Sierra Club said in a Feb. 1 press release in reference to the Inflation Reduction Act.

Activists are concerned about wildlife impacts in Alaska, as well as the health of the state’s population.

“Allowing Willow to move forward will pose a threat to some of Alaska’s last undisturbed wilderness, to the populations of wildlife that call it home, and to the public health of nearby communities and makes it harder to achieve our climate goals. We must end new leasing on public lands and conserving more nature to secure our climate future,” the release continued.

Biden’s choice is obvious. He said it himself in his campaign when he vowed to end drilling on public lands. To defend against climate change and to protect the lands of indigenous people, Biden must take action against the extractive Willow Project.

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About the Contributors
William Woodring, News Editor | he/him
Will is a senior majoring in public relations. He is originally from Medway, Ma. In his free time, he enjoys listening to music, writing, reading, and running. He is interested in political journalism and hopes to go into politics after graduating. Follow Will on Twitter @woodringwill
Maren Halpin, News Editor | she/her
Maren is a sophomore print/web journalism major with a minor in political science from Milford, Massachusetts. When she’s not in The Journal office, you can find Maren at a program council meeting or in Suffolk’s orientation office. In her free time, she loves to go to her favorite coffee shops, listen to Noah Kahan, Hozier and Taylor Swift on repeat, explore the city and spend time with family and friends. Maren is passionate about politics and hopes to go into political journalism in the future. 
Julia Fusco, Graphics Editor | she/her
Julia is a senior from South Hamilton, Mass. majoring in media & film at Suffolk University. Julia is part of four student organizations and counting and is on the E-Board for three of them. When she isn't working at the Suffolk gym or in class, you can often find her taking time to engage in her hobbies, which includes photoshoots with her friends, graphic designing, dancing and grabbing some boba to go!

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Biden administration to decide on fate of Willow Project