Testimony against oil project in the Western Arctic

The House Resource committee held a hearing with public testimony on a resolution to encourage approval of the Willow oil project in the Western Arctic.

Transcription of Testimony

My name is Dyani Chapman and I’m the state director for Alaska Environment which is a statewide member based organization. I’m opposed to the Willow project, and I encourage each of you to vote no on this resolution. 

NOAA is attributing significant blame to warming oceans for the snow crab population collapse in the Bering sea and salmon in the Yukon. The department of the interior is going to spend $25 million relocating Newtok. Typhoon Merbok has been tied directly to a warming climate. Sea Ice loss in the Arctic indicates a dim future for Bowhead and other whales if we don’t act decisively and quickly. For our marine life, our current residents, and future generations, it’s clear that we need to stop drilling for and burning fossil fuels as quickly as possible. ConocoPhillips Willow project is a 30 year investment in increasingly extreme weather events and collapsing fisheries. This is obviously a global issue, but we have to do our part and choose for our labor force to work toward what’s next for Alaska, not a dying and destructive industry.

This past week, I’ve been digging into the Inflation Reduction Act and Bipartisan Infrastructure Act investments in clean energy for Alaska. In the next 10 years, we have an opportunity to overhaul our energy system with federal funds, and one of the concerns that keeps popping up as I talk to people is whether there will be enough contractors, energy auditors, etc to do the work throughout the state. We have to put our time and energy into our next energy systems.  Alaska has a history with fossil fuels, but people thrived here before oil and can thrive again after- it’s time for our next iteration.

As I think about my family and communities here in Alaska, and the generations that come after us, I’m confident that we’ll be best served by leaving big new oil projects like Willow in the past. Thank you.


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