Drilling in the Arctic devastates ecosystem

Alayna Pellegrin

We need to get to the bottom of the economic crisis, but not with a drill.

Last week, Biden approved an oil-drilling expedition off the Alaskan coast, known as the Willow Project. The controversial plan would create hundreds of jobs, giving a much-needed boost to the economy. However, instilling an oil rig in the Arctic will devastate the surrounding landscape and harm local wildlife. 

The Willow Project should have never been approved. It will only contribute to the growing threat of climate change.  

Biden has promised to cut all greenhouse gas emissions by at least 50% by 2030. Instead, he has approved a major project that derails his own climate goals. 

According to CBS, the Willow Project will add approximately 278 million metric tons of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, which roughly equals the emissions produced from 1.7 million passenger cars combined.

Biden handed over one of the most fragile and integral ecosystems in the world to ConocoPhillips, Alaska’s largest crude oil producer. ConocoPhillips has a history of exploiting the Arctic for financial gain, having been sued by several environmental groups.

This is not climate change or environmental justice. It is the beginning of an ecological carbon bomb, which could bring us to an end.

According to Ella Nilsen, CNN climate reporter, Alaskan lawmakers say that the Willow Project will create jobs, boost energy production and lessen the country’s reliance on foreign oil. Alaska’s North Slope leaders say that it is a much-needed new source of revenue that does not rely on the state and federal government.

But what these groups do not understand is the significant environmental impacts of major oil development. The Willow Project will industrialize the Arctic, destroying habitats of native species and altering the migration patterns of animals.

While the Willow Project may not directly affect Louisiana, the project indicated that the oilfield is not a dying industry. The project will create jobs and generate revenue in Alaska, while the Arctic gets millions of metric tons of carbon emissions in exchange. 

The Arctic is already warming four times faster than the rest of the planet, but lawmakers want to go ahead and damage our already fragile climate beyond repair.

With the ice caps melting and the Earth warming, we need to start prioritizing nature over profit.