Tell President Biden to Protect the Western Arctic

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Dear Friend of The Nation,
The Willow Project is a ruinous Western Arctic drilling plan that would generate an estimated 280 million metric tons of climate pollution, jeopardize the health and traditional practices of nearby Alaska Native communities, and devastate local wildlife. Earthjustice, the premier nonprofit environmental law organization, is fighting back against this catastrophic project. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) just released its Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) for the Willow Project — the Western Arctic drilling plan. Despite broad public outcry, the agency moved one step closer to granting permits for the Willow Project.


So far, President Biden has failed to meet the moment when it comes to winding down fossil fuel production. His climate legacy will remain mixed so long as he continues to fail to tackle the root of the problem — rampant extraction and combustion of fossil fuels. But there’s still hope.


The news is disappointing, but the fight continues. The administration has recognized that it can still select the no action alternative in a final decision, and we urge it to do so. The Biden administration can finalize its decision in the coming weeks but until then, we can still pressure the administration and BLM to do the right thing. Tell President Biden and the BLM not to grant permits for the Willow Project.


Earthjustice already held the BLM accountable for its failure to assess the Willow Project’s greenhouse gas emissions, requiring it to supplement the original EIS by taking the BLM to court — but the facts on the Willow Project remain damning. It would generate an estimated 280 million metric tons of climate pollution, jeopardize the health of people living in nearby communities, and devastate local wildlife like polar bears, migratory birds, and caribou. This project is massive on its own, but ConocoPhillips admitted to investors that Willow is just the first step in its master plan to turn the pristine Western Arctic into an industrial oil production zone.


The stakes are too high for us to let our guard down now, and we’re ready to take the agency back to court if it uses shoddy analysis or faulty assumptions to justify permitting the project once again. However, the clearest path forward is not one involving litigation, but one where the BLM acts on the public uproar about this disastrous drilling plan. 42,000 Earthjustice supporters and hundreds of thousands of others filed public comments telling the agency that allowing Willow to proceed during a worsening climate crisis is unacceptable.


We need to match that energy as we head into this final stretch. This might be the public’s last shot to influence the agency before the BLM greenlights this project, with its potential to cause untold damage to the Western Arctic. Join us in urging President Biden and the BLM to deny the permits for the Willow Project.


Jeremy Lieb

Senior Attorney

Alaska Office

Categories: Environment

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