Opinion: Biden’s Approval of Willow Project Will Prove Costly

The Willow Project was created by an energy company under the name of ConocoPhillips. The project would drill for and extract hundreds of millions of barrels of oil in Alaska. The Biden administration approved the project on March 13th, 2023. However, many Americans and global citizens are concerned over the implications of the project, and have spoken up about their fears.

Monetary Cost

The project will cost around 8 billion dollars to complete. It will also provide jobs to Americans. However, the company claims that the project will generate hundreds of millions in revenue. But, this money is a long ways away, as this project will take decades to complete. The cost to offset the environmental damage the extraction and burning of the oil will cause makes it unlikely that the Willow Project will actually be lucrative for the world.


Environmental Cost

Over the three decades of the project, almost 300 million tons of emissions, including carbon and other greenhouse gases, will be emitted into the atmosphere. This will warm the planet and worsen air quality. Warming the Arctic especially causes sea levels to rise as ice melts, causing coastal flooding all over the world. Additionally, the Willow Project will harm the nearby ecosystem, hurting both plants and animals in the area. Migration routes of animals native to the area could be changed and prove deadly for those creatures. Other forms of energy like wind power and tidal power are far cleaner and cheaper for the world. Research has proven that these alternate forms of energy would benefit citizens around the world both short-term and long-term, so why doesn’t Biden focus on renewable energy instead?

Political Cost

Biden’s approval of the Willow Project is in direct opposition of many young voters’ opinions. In the weeks leading up to the project’s approval, news of the project spread like wildfire on TikTok. The hashtag #StopWillow was tagged on countless videos with many users encouraging others to send letters to the Biden administration to discourage their approval of the project. TikTok has a mostly young userbase; Gen Zers use the app to connect with others and learn about personal and global issues. Also, Americans held protests around the country, such as in front of the White House. Despite protests from so many young people, Biden approved the project. This approval may cause young voters to lose faith in him. Proponents of renewable energy will be less likely to side with him. This issue brings back echoes of the 2020 election, in which many voters urged others to “Settle for Biden,” believing that he may not be perfect, but he would be a better president than Donald Trump. Biden should know that voters may not settle for him in the next election if presented with a better option: someone who cares deeply about the environment and the opinions of young people.