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Willow Project: The facts you need to know


A massive oil drilling plan located in Alaska called the Willow Project was introduced to the Trump Administration in 2020 by Alaska’s largest oil producer, ConocoPhillips. 

The purpose of this project is to drill up to 100 exploratory oil wells in Alaskan fields. These wells can drill up to 750 million barrels of oil each. That’s about 75 billion barrels of oil. 

Speculation and worry overcame thousands of American citizens due to public research and news reports spreading information on the negative side effects of drilling for oil. Americans spent years of worry wondering when the plan would be approved.

Throughout former President Donald Trump’s terms, the Trump Administration never approved the Willow Project. However, when current President Joe Biden was elected, ConocoPhillips introduced this plan once again. 

Joe Biden met with “The Daily Show” on March 13, 2023 for an interview about loan forgiveness, LGBTQ+ rights and climate change solutions. In this interview, President Biden talks about how future generations are “damned” if climate change is not resolved quickly. 

“People can’t deny it [climate change] anymore,” Biden said.  “That whole generation is damned. I mean, that’s not hyperbole. Really, truly in trouble.”

The Willow Project was approved by the Biden Administration later that same evening. 

The approval of the Willow Project is expected to produce more than 287 million tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, which is equivalent to adding 200 million cars on roads for the next 30 years. Exceeding the “healthy” limit of carbon emissions, 250 million tons, the Willow Project is expected to lead into a dangerous impact on not only the climate, but future generations of American citizens. 

The increase of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere can lead to negative impacts on respiratory system and cardiovascular conditions. It may also lead to headaches, asthma, high blood pressure, comas, extreme sweating attacks, strokes and an increase of blood pressure. 

Online protests and petitions have followed after the three year long discussions of the Willow Project between politicians and environmentalists. One online petition made by Sienna Floor on has over 5 million signatures, earned in less than one month. 

Whether it comes down to climate change or the damage to the human body, the Willow Project has no positive effect on the environment or American citizens.

Besides the effect on humans, the Willow Project is reducing the amount of freshwater and land in Alaska. New roads are a requirement due to the unavailability of roads in the Alaskan arctic tundra. Therefore, ecosystems and habitats will be ruined before the drilling of oil even begins. 

Over 11 miles of roads will be destroyed and changed into drilling sites. 20 miles of pipelines and 113 miles of gravel and land will be bought and owned by ConocoPhillips. These 113 miles of land are used by native Alaskan animals to graze and travel.

Before the project can begin, ConocoPhillips must use “chillers.” These “chillers” use oxygen in our atmosphere to regulate a consistent temperature of an area. Due to current damage caused by climate change, arctic land has defrosted making it hard for oil drilling companies to extract fossil fuels out of the ground. The extreme amount of mass drilling in one compacted area can lead to oil and methane gas pipes leaks which add further damage to the environment. 

Early this March, a methane leak occurred on another one of ConocoPhillips oil site locations, not far from the original location for the Willow Project. 

Methane is a gas 25% more extreme than carbon dioxide. It traps 80% more heat in the atmosphere and is related more to pollution-caused harm on humans. These two gasses together create a heat trapping shield over Earth’s atmosphere causing the entire planet to increase in temperature. In less than 20 years, these gasses combined could cause the planet to become uninhabitable. 

ConocoPhillips investors and marketers were expecting to see a major boost in their funds and investments since the Willow Project has been approved. 

Over 15 billion dollars is expected to be delivered to the federal government. In simpler words, the Willow Project has absolutely no benefit except putting more money into the palms of the already rich.

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About the Contributor
Annabelle Bignell
Annabelle Bignell, Editor-in-Chief
Annabelle Bignell is a junior at Fremont High School. This is her second year on the Tiger’s Eye News staff and she is currently the Editor-in-Chief. Annabelle is the founder of Student Saftey Club, President for the Multicultural Club, a member of SOS, Student Council, Youth Leadership Academy and is the Black and Gold Media’s Business Manager.  She enjoys writing a variety of articles but her favorite are news and opinion and she plans on starting a new vlogging series for Tiger’s Eye News. Annabelle Bignell es una estudiante de tercer año en la escuela secundaria de Fremont. Este es su segundo año siendo parte del personal de Tigers Eye News y actualmente es Editora en jefe. Annabelle es una de las funcionarias del Club Multicultural, miembra de SOS, Gerente Comercial de Black and Gold Media y miembro del consejo estudiantil. Le encanta escribir una variedad de artículos, pero sus favoritos son los relacionados con las noticias y opiniones de las personas. Annabelle planea comenzar una nueva serie de blogs para Tigers Eye News. 
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