Washington D.C. – Natural Resources Chair Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.) released the following statement on the Biden administration’s decision to defend in court ConocoPhillips’ Willow Master Development Plan in the National Petroleum Reserve – Alaska.
“The Biden administration’s decision to back ConocoPhillips’ massive oil and gas project in Alaska needs to be coupled with a careful review of the environmental impacts this project will have on Native American communities and on air, water, wildlife and climate stability. Locking in 30 years of fossil fuel production in this location must be done with eyes open and with a credible public input process. The Arctic is already suffering from climate change, and as President Biden has rightly said before, our nation needs to transition away from fossil fuels.”
The Bureau of Land Management under President Trump rushed the public comment period on the Willow project during the height of the pandemic last year. The final environmental review failed to fully examine the project’s cumulative impacts or consider alternatives that would protect sensitive resources.
In May of 2020, Grijalva sent a letter with other House Democrats to then-Interior Secretary David Bernhardt urging him to suspend development of the Willow project, which was then undergoing the preparation of a Supplemental Draft Environmental Impact Statement. The Trump administration did not respond to the letter and argued in federal court that community objections to the massive drilling project should be ignored.
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