Center for American Progress

STATEMENT: CAP’s Patrick Gaspard Laments Approval of Plan for Willow Arctic Drilling Project
Press Statement

STATEMENT: CAP’s Patrick Gaspard Laments Approval of Plan for Willow Arctic Drilling Project

Washington, D.C. — Today, the Biden administration took the next step in approving the master drilling plan for the massive ConocoPhillips Willow project in the Western Arctic. The project would drill for oil in a remote and rapidly warming part of the Arctic and continue emitting carbon pollution well beyond the time that United States is on track to move away from fossil fuels. In response, Patrick Gaspard, president and CEO of the Center for American Progress, issued the following statement:

This project is a climate disaster in waiting. It’s a huge step backward for both climate and conservation progress, and it’s very disappointing that the administration would move this project forward after making climate action such a central pillar.

The Willow project is an investment in the economy of the past. It would do irreversible damage to the remote Arctic landscape, harm wildlife, accelerate climate change, and endanger public health. Our window to act on climate is rapidly closing, and every new fossil fuel project makes it that much harder for us to do what we need to avert truly catastrophic climate change.

This project would not have been approved if the administration fully considered the environmental impact—how burning the extracted oil would contribute to climate change—or abided by its own updated climate guidance. President Joe Biden must incorporate federal drilling decisions into his climate policy.

For more information or to speak with an expert, please contact Sam Hananel at [email protected].

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