The public, conservation and Indigenous groups call on Biden administration to not move forward with permitting ConocoPhillips’ Willow project in Alaska’s Western Arctic

No single imminent oil and gas project on federal public land has the potential to set back the Biden’s administration’s climate and public lands goals more than ConocoPhillips’ Willow project.

Washington, D.C.

Today, more than 200,000 comments from throughout Alaska and across the country were submitted to the U.S. Interior Department and Bureau of Land Management opposing the Willow oil and gas project and calling on President Biden to protect the Western Arctic. In addition, 140+ organizations submitted a letter directly to Interior Secretary Deb Haaland opposing the project, noting that the “reassessment of and response to this damaging proposal will be a significant test of this administration’s commitment to bringing the management of our nation’s public lands into line with the urgent need to combat the climate crisis and your goal to preserve 30 percent of our nation’s public lands by 2030.”
 
Defenders of Wildlife joined with Alaska Wilderness League, Audubon Alaska, Conservation Lands Foundation, Earthjustice, Environment America, Evergreen Action, Friends of the Earth, League of Conservation Voters, Northern Alaska Environmental Center, Trustees for Alaska, and the Wilderness Society to release the following statement as the project scoping period comes to a close:
 
“No single imminent oil and gas project on federal public land has the potential to set back the Biden’s administration’s climate and public lands goals more than ConocoPhillips’ Willow project. Willow is estimated to add more than 260 million metric tons of CO2 to the atmosphere over the next 30 years, equivalent to the annual emissions from one-third of U.S. coal-fired power plants or 56 million vehicles. It will be next to impossible to achieve the president’s climate goals if this project and the additional development it will spur moves forward.”
 
“Willow’s climate impact will be amplified by its location in Alaska’s Western Arctic, the cultural homeland and subsistence area for many Alaska Native communities that rely on the region’s lands, wildlife, and clean water. The project will have significant impacts in particular on the Teshekpuk Lake Special Area, one of the most productive wetland complexes in the Arctic and important calving grounds for the Teshekpuk Lake caribou herd, a significant subsistence and food security resource for communities on the North Slope. Willow presents both near-term and long-term threats to subsistence resources in a region already on the front lines of climate change. Jeopardizing Western Arctic ecosystems will put all of its inhabitants at risk.”

Image
Caribou on tundra in NPR-A
Bob Wick/BLM

Defenders of Wildlife is celebrating 75 years of protecting all native animals and plants in their natural communities. With a nationwide network of nearly 2.2 million members and activists, Defenders of Wildlife is a leading advocate for innovative solutions to safeguard our wildlife heritage for generations to come. For more information, visit defenders.org/newsroom and follow us on Twitter @Defenders.

Media Contact

Vice President, Communications
rbrittin@defenders.org
(202) 772-3255

Related

Image
Caribou in Denali
Image
Northern Lights Over Brooks Range Alaska
Image
Polar bear with cubs

News

Image
Okefenokee kayaking
Washington, DC

Defenders of Wildlife Applauds Secretary Haaland's Call to Protect the Okefenokee from Strip Mining

Defenders of Wildlife applauds recent comments submitted directly to Georgia Governor Brian Kemp by U.S. Secretary of the Interior Debra Haaland that reinforce the dangers
Image
Sea otter raft of four
Washington, DC

New Defenders' Analysis Highlights Benefits of Full ESA Funding

A new analysis from Defender of Wildlife’s Center for Conservation Innovation (CCI), finds that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service only receives about 40% of the funding required to fully implement the Endangered Species Act.