Environmental policiesPolicy and Affairs

Biden drops the mask and gives go to new oil-and-gas drilling in Alaska

The new oil-and-gas drilling in Alaska will produce about 250 mln t CO2e

At least 600 million extractable crude barrels. At a peak rate of 180 thousand barrels of oil per day. For a useful life of 30 years. The numbers are completely misaligned with respect to 1.5 of the Willow project C by ConocoPhillips. Who just got the green light from the White House. A move that reopens the door to oil-and-gas drilling in Alaska.

Biden, about to oil-and-gas drilling in Alaska

The exact opposite of what Biden promised in the campaign. At the time, the presidential candidate advocated a moratorium on all fossil projects involving new deposits on federal soil. Moratorium that was actually announced just became Potus. But that was challenged and torn to pieces in court.

The reversal is accomplished today with the ok to the project of Conoco, one of the largest mining sites located on federal land. The Interior Department put a stamp on the environmental impact assessment. Asking for a reduction in the scale of the project, but without discarding it. A particular decision. Especially since the Willow project has been at the center of a dispute between the oil majors and Washington for the possibility of returning to install oil-and-gas drilling in Alaska.

A carbon bomb

One of the most critical points – and criticized after the green light to the project – is that it will arise on the largest part of the undisturbed territory of the country. This region is an essential habitat for polar bears, migratory birds, caribou and other species. But Willow is also a huge “carbon bomb”. If completely extracted and combustible, all the crude oil and the gas contained would generate about 260 Mt CO2.

read also Biden hides his wallet: only $1 billion in climate funds

Not only. The project also involves the use of huge coolers to keep the ground afloat: the permafrost is melting and would threaten the integrity of the infrastructure. Infrastructure that would be, by project approved, at least 219 wells, 430 km of pipeline and another 50 km of road.

This would be the largest single oil drilling project proposed anywhere in the U.S., and it is drastically out of step with the Biden administration’s goals to slash climate pollution and transition to clean energy. Biden will be remembered for what he did to tackle the climate crisis, and as things stand today, it’s not too late for him to step up and pull the plug on this carbon bomb”, explains Earthjustice’s attorney, Jeremy Lieb.

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