The Willow Project-Why It Is Bad

Newspaper from Alaska that pleads for the termination of the Willow Project to protect the planet.

Charlize Harding, News Editor

Erie, Pa, March 21, 2023—If you have been keeping up with what is happening in the world today, you may have heard about the Willow Project that was presented by Conoco Phillips originally presented and approved to the Trump Administration but has since been approved (but reduced) by the Biden Administration.

What exactly is the Willow Project?

The Willow Project is a massive oil drilling that will happen on Alaska’s Northern Slope in the National Petroleum Reserve (which is owned by the Federal Government).

The area in which this is and where the drilling is planned, will hold up to 600 million barrels of oil.

What does this mean?

The Conoco Phillips Alaskan Willow Project will produce roughly 160,000 barrels of oil per day over the next 30 years.

This project will create up to a third of the emissions that are created by coral plants across the country. The ConocoPhillips Willow Project will not only create its own emissions, but also provoke gas leaks which will further cause more environmental issues.

As of right now, there are six conservation groups that have filed lawsuits against the federal government for the Biden Administration approval of the Willow Project (Alaskapublicmedia).

From the website, they say; “At approximately 23 million acres, BLM lands in the Western Arctic make up the largest single remaining unit of wild public land in America—bigger than 10 Yellowstone national parks, and nearly the size of the state of Indiana…”

If you think about it, the Yellowstone national park is huge, having ten consecutively-the size of Indiana- an oil drilling area that was approved by the federal government is simply appalling.

My friend, biology major, with a strong background in conservation, Kiley Williams and I have been discussing ecological issues in our world today that are catalyzed by carbon emissions.

“They are drilling in the artic circle that is already a fragile ecosystem that inhabits caribou, polar bears, and one of the most important species being salmon,” she said. “Salmon is already feeling the effects of overfishing and climate change with the poor water quality. This added stressor could majorly affect this keystone species.”

What exactly is a keystone species?

Keystone species: a species that plays an essential role in an ecosystem, and if it is negatively affected, it will negatively affect every plant, animal, essentially all species in that ecosystem.

“Salmon are able to be keystone species because once they die, their bodies provide nutrients to the bodies of water in which they are located, they are also a very important food source for bears and killer whales,” she said. “This is the cascade effect, if you affect one important species, it will affect magnitudes of species that rely on it.”

There are Native nations of the pacific northwest that live in this region, and with the green light on the Willow Project, there will not only be animals, plants and other living organisms in that area will be affected but humans that call the northern slope of Alaska home.

To learn more about what to do, I encourage looking into different organizations that are actively protesting the advancement of the Willow Project.

Limit single use plastic, limit electricity use.

There are ways to help the planet, even as a single individual. If everyone has the mindset of “I am only one person” nothing will get done, and the battle against climate change is already lost. It starts with one, be the one.