The Willow Project Impacts a Climate Crisis: Who Supports and Who Opposes


Photo of Courtesy of the Guardian

Maria Sofia Ferrer and Brynn Pruett, Staff Writers

The environment has been in a state of calamity since the usage of fossil fuels and other factors that caused climate change. However, the government desires to construct an oil-drilling project in Alaska, known as the Willow Project, for advancement purposes. Opinions regarding this topic differ, where some citizens are against it, and a few support it.

Alaskans are coming together to urge the reapproval of the Willow project saying that it will help create union jobs and provide social and economic benefits for their communities as well as it striking an appropriate balance between the need to develop oil and gas resources and ensuring that Nuiqsut residents can continue to practice subsistence for generations to come. Joelle Hall, President of Alaska AFL-CIO states, “Willow is an essential project that will create union jobs, provide social and economic benefits to communities around Alaska, and support America’s energy security. This project fulfills the promise that President Biden ran on and touted since entering office.” Hall explains her opinion on why she thinks the Willow Project will be good for her economic system.

 According to CNN, “ConocoPhillips proposed Willow Project is a massive and decadeslong oil drilling venture on Alaska’s North Slope in the National Petroleum Reserve, which is owned by the federal government.” The area where the project is planned holds up to 600 million barrels of oil. Drilling out huge amounts of oil from land that holds most of the oil supply in the world could release about 9.2 million metric tons of planet-warming carbon pollution on the planet. 

Many scientists believe that this is a huge threat to our climate because the carbon dioxide that will be emitted from the production of these oils will trap more heat in our atmosphere, causing severe damage to ecosystems, the food chain, and land. The rising sea levels that are caused by the melting of ice caps from the planet warming are said to destroy polar bears’ habitat and disrupt the food chain. Acidic gasses will also affect the ocean by infecting coral reefs and the sea animals within. If the ocean sea levels continue to rise, then they will reach coastal areas that will soon be flooded. “Oil has been drilled for decades, and today’s technology has enhanced this process indefinitely. Because of this, an oil spill catastrophe is less likely, or can be better prevented”, says Ms. Katelin Gill, Honors Integrated Science Teacher. She presumes that citizens need to take drastic measures to lower global warming and climate change, so she does not support this project. 

The public is protesting to halt the production of continuing this project which may result in multiple environmental changes. Climate change enthusiasts are enraged due to the risks that this project is taking because of how much land and environmental measures they have to sacrifice. 

People’s opinions differ when it comes to the approval of the Willow Project, or the project in general. There are positives and negatives to the project being approved, it will make climate change worse but will help create union jobs in Alaska.