Climate activists say President broke ‘promise’ by approving the Willow Oil Project

Activists rallied Tuesday outside the Department of the Interior where President Joe Biden spoke at a conservation summit.
Published: Mar. 21, 2023 at 4:17 PM PDT
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WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - The same day President Joe Biden spoke at The White House Conservation Summit, climate activists rallied outside the Department of Interior. They claim the President isn’t keeping his promise to protect the environment after he approved the Willow Project a large-scale oil drilling facility in Alaska.

“We just think it’s really comical and really funny that, you know, last Monday he approved the Willow Project. And today, Tuesday, like just a week after, he is having this conservation summit to show off how great of a climate leader he is, how great at conservation he is,” said Nadia Nazar, co-founder of Zero Hour. She added “...we are here to say no. He’s not a great climate leader. We’re here to say reverse the decision. We’re going to urge him to keep his promises.”

Alaskan leaders have supported the Willow Project. ConocoPhillips has said the project will produce an estimated 180,000 barrels of oil per day at its peak. Over the next 10 years, the project is expected to deliver up to $17 billion in new revenue and create more than 2,500 construction jobs and nearly 300 long-term jobs.

President Joe Biden’s approval came with trade-offs. The original plan for five drilling sites was scaled down to three. Meanwhile, 16 million acres of Arctic land were protected.

Read more about the President’s conservation and climate efforts here

“In Alaska, we protected the Tongass National Forest and the Salmon Bristol Bay,” said President Biden during the conservation summit on Tuesday.

The President reminded the crowd he issued an executive order to establish a national conservation goal. ‘America the Beautiful’ supports locally-led conservation and restoration efforts. The President’s goal is to conserve at least 30% of U.S. lands and waters by 2030. In 2022 on Earth Day, he said he also signed an executive order to protect America’s forests. The Infrastructure Law and Inflation Reduction Act provided funding for clean energy initiatives.

“You know, my first year in office, we protected more lands and waters than any American President since John Kennedy,” said President Biden.

Nazar said the approval of the Willow Project ignored the concerns of young people, in addition to social media posts and a viral petitions that garnered millions of views. Nazar believes the fossil fuel resources should instead be applied to green energy jobs and training for workers.

“There is no economy on a dead planet. You know? This isn’t something that’s negotiable. Like if we’re not here, there’s no more economy to worry about,” said Nazar.