It’s time for an all-out national mobilization to defeat the climate crisis.

President Biden and Congress must lead the charge to defeat the climate crisis and build a thriving, just and inclusive clean energy future. Join our work to help make it happen.

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It’s time for an all-out national mobilization to defeat the climate crisis.

President Biden and Congress must lead the charge to defeat the climate crisis and build a thriving, just and inclusive clean energy future. Join our work to help make it happen.

What Is the Willow Project? ConocoPhillips’ Disastrous Plan to Drill in the Western Arctic

ConocoPhillips’ Willow Project is the single largest proposed oil extraction project threatening our public lands. Here are four key reasons why the Department of Interior must stop this project once and for all.

The Arctic is warming rapidly. Fossil fuel companies are to blame. But ConocoPhillips wants to build a massive oil and gas operation in Alaska’s fragile western Arctic. This proposal includes installing artificial “chillers” in the ground under its proposed drilling project so the permafrost won’t melt as they draw out millions of barrels of oil. It’s totally dystopian. 

Meet the Willow Project, a 30-year plan from ConocoPhillips to drill in sensitive Alaskan ecosystems and near Indigenous communities. It’s the single largest oil extraction project currently proposed on US federal land – and it must be stopped. 

Hold up, what’s the Willow Project?

Back in 2020, the Trump Administration approved the Willow Master Development Plan, better known as the Willow Project – a huge and controversial oil project slated for Alaska’s Western Arctic. Not long after, ConocoPhillips told investors that the development plan would be the “the next great Alaska hub.” In reality, the Willow Project promised to lock us into at least another three decades of catastrophic fossil fuel extraction.

Sounds like a bad idea for the climate? Well, it is. That’s why many environmental advocates breathed a sigh of relief last August, when a federal judge in Alaska halted the project, noting that the Department of Interior had failed to account for the full scope of greenhouse gas pollution and impacts on wildlife that would come with it. 

Fast forward to 2022. Despite scientists issuing a code red for humanity if we don’t rapidly transition away from fossil fuels and to clean energy, ConocoPhillips has announced it still wants to move forward with the Willow Project. Now, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has been tasked with completing a draft supplemental environmental impact statement to more accurately lay out the Willow Project’s impact. It’s time to raise our voices against the project and its devastating costs.

Make your voice heard: Tell the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to revoke ConocoPhillips’ permits.

Submit an Official Comment

Need more convincing? Here are four key reasons why the Willow Project needs to be stopped. 

#1: The Willow Project pours fuel onto the fire of the climate crisis

Let’s not mince words: the Willow Project would be a disaster for our climate.

Over the next 30 years, the Willow Project could produce more than 600 million barrels of oil. That’s equivalent to the annual emissions of 66 new coal fired power plants – or about a third of all coal plants across the country. 

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Put another way, the Willow Project will pump an estimated 259 million metric tons of carbon pollution into the atmosphere over its 30 year lifespan, according to BLM estimates. That’s equivalent to more than 4% of America’s current annual emissions stemming from a single project. 

It’s clear that ConocoPhillips’ Willow Project is incompatible with a safer climate future. In a recent landmark report, the International Energy Agency confirmed there’s no room for new fossil fuel infrastructure or extraction if we are to meet the targets of the Paris Agreement and avert catastrophic global heating. And according to the 2021 Production Gap report co-published by the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), global fossil fuel production must sharply and immediately decline to be consistent with our collective global commitment to limit long-term warming to 1.5C degrees. That means the proposed Willow Project flies in the face of our planetary climate target.

What’s more, the Willow Project is irreconcilable with President Biden’s climate commitment to a 50-52% reduction in greenhouse gas pollution below 2005 levels by 2030 and meeting net-zero emissions by 2050. 

Willow is a clear example of the kind of project the Biden administration must reject on climate grounds. In the opening days of his presidency, President Biden issued a temporary pause on leasing of public lands and waters. Soon after, a federal judge in Louisiana blocked the president’s pause. As the appeal continues, the Biden Administration must conduct a full and fair accounting of the climate impacts of increased Arctic fossil fuel expansion—which will show that they’re deeply incompatible with the President’s climate goals, and as such, should be rejected. The Willow Project’s staggering climate impacts must be reflected in BLM’s upcoming draft supplemental environmental impact statement—and such a full and fair accounting of the true climate cost of this project will show that it is clearly not in our country’s best interest and is not the best use of our precious public lands. (To tell BLM this, add your voice here.) 

But climate impacts aren’t the only reason why the Willow Project is terrible. 

#2: The Willow Project is bad for environmental justice 

The Willow Master Development Plan is about 36 miles from Nuiqsut, a small Native Alaskan community that is already surrounded by oil and gas activity. Rates of respiratory illnesses have rapidly increased in recent years, and residents point to the increased black carbon pollution that comes from fossil fuel production as contributing to this rise

Meanwhile, over three quarters of the population practice a traditional subsistence lifestyle, spanning fish, whales and caribou. Many residents are concerned that this oil infrastructure development could further exacerbate the industry’s impact on sensitive ecosystems, wildlife, and food security.

As organizations like Sovereign Inupiat for a Living Arctic (SILA) lead the fight against the Willow Project, you can learn more about frontline impacts here

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#3:  The Willow Project is bad for biodiversity 

The Willow Project will also expand into previously undeveloped areas of the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska, including Teshekpuk Lake, a sensitive and globally significant ecosystem. Teshekpuk Lake is an important calving ground for caribou herds, and the Willow Project would harm wildlife habitat for these caribou, polar bears, and migratory birds, among others. 

#4: Infrastructure from the Willow Project could pave the way for even more drilling

The Willow Project itself includes drilling up to 250 wells in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska. But it would also build up to five new drill pads, a processing facility, hundreds of miles of pipelines and ice roads, an airstrip, and a gravel mine. Many environmental advocates worry that the project would pave the way for even more industrial expansion to the Western Arctic and further compromise the sensitive ecosystem. 

Here’s what you can do 

Right now, the Interior Department’s Bureau of Land Management has opened a scoping comment period for the Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) of the Willow Master Development Plan. This is a powerful opportunity to call for the Department of Interior to stop this project once and for all! 

We want the government to hear from you directly! Over 4,000 of our supporters have already provided public input. Can you help us crack 5,000? Add your name to make an official public comment against Willow, and we’ll submit it directly to decision-makers on your behalf. And please feel free to add an additional personalized comment in the open form field.

Public input will be accepted until the deadline on March 9, 2022.

Will you sign a public comment speaking out against Willow? Just add your name, and we’ll officially submit it on your behalf before the upcoming deadline!

Submit an Official Comment