WECAN Reacts to Biden Administration’s Approval of the Disastrous Willow Project
March 13, 2023 — Today, despite the strong opposition from Indigenous leaders, environmental groups, and climate justice coalitions, the Biden Administration announced its approval of the ConocoPhillips' Willow Oil Drilling Project — a massive oil drilling development in Alaska’s western Arctic that threatens local communities and wildlife, and the global climate.
Willow will lock us into another 30+ years of fossil fuel extraction at a time when we need to immediately phase out fossil fuels. As reported by CNN, “the project would generate enough oil to release 9.2 million metric tons of planet-warming carbon pollution a year – equivalent to adding 2 million gas-powered cars to the roads.”
Led by frontline Indigenous leaders at Sovereign Iñupiat for a Living Arctic (SILA), opposition to the Willow project has risen over the past several weeks, including a change.org petition with 3.2 million signatures, and a letter from 22 lawmakers calling on President Biden to reject the project.
In response to the decision, Osprey Orielle Lake, Executive Director of the Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network (WECAN) released the following statement:
"Approving the Willow Project will lock communities into further climate chaos, environmental degradation and harm. The science is clear from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change to the International Energy Agency: fossil fuel expansion must stop in order to halt the escalation of the climate crisis.
Today's decision is in direct opposition to President Biden's campaign promises to preserve public lands and take climate action. Biden’s decision does nothing to protect biodiversity, to advance calls for climate justice, or uplift Indigenous and human rights. Instead the Administration's decision is yet another chance for ConocoPhillips to burn down our planet for profit.
We will not be deterred by the efforts of fossil fuel companies and governments to propel us further into the climate crisis — we will keep fighting. Biden must stand with frontline communities as we work collectively to stop Willow and all fossil fuel expansion for good. There must be no more sacrifice people or sacrifice zones as we build the future we know is desperately needed for the health of people and planet.”
More statements from partners can be found at the links below:
The Women's Earth and Climate Action Network (WECAN) International
www.wecaninternational.org - @WECAN_INTL
The Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network (WECAN) International is a 501(c)3 and solutions-based organization established to engage women worldwide in policy advocacy, on-the-ground projects, trainings, and movement building for global climate justice.