Statement: Bureau of Land Management kicks off public comment period on proposed ‘carbon bomb’ in Western Arctic

Media Contacts
Taran Volckhausen

Former Communications Associate, The Public Interest Network

WASHINGTON –  The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) launched on Friday a public comment period on the newly released Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (DSEIS) for ConocoPhillips’ proposed oil extraction Willow Project in the National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska.
The Willow Project has been on hold for nearly a year since a federal court vacated permits for the project. Willow is the single largest oil extraction project proposed on federal lands. The DSEIS is intended to address deficiencies identified by the U.S. District Court of Alaska in ConocoPhillips’ original Willow Master Development Plan proposed in 2020.  
Environment America recently joined other environmental advocacy groups urging Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland to conduct a thorough and comprehensive review of the ConocoPhillips’ Willow proposal, noting that “Willow is the single largest oil extraction project proposed on federal lands.” A recent study by the Center for American Progress found that the Willow Project would erase the climate benefits of renewable energy that this administration has promised on public lands and waters by 2030.

The BLM will hold a 45 day public comment period.

Ellen Montgomery, Public Lands director for Environment America, issued the following statement:

“Allowing the Willow Project to move forward will harm irreplaceable landscapes and further exacerbate the climate crisis in a region that is especially vulnerable to rising temperatures. President Biden has set admirable ambitions for tackling the climate crisis but it could all be undermined if the Willow Project moves forward. The 250 million metric ton ‘carbon bomb’ that Willow would release in its proposed 30-year lifespan is equivalent to annual emissions of nearly a third of all U.S. coal-fired power plants. Authorizing Willow would be a significant step backward in the global climate fight. We hope that Americans send in hundreds of thousands of public comments opposing this proposal.” 

Dyani Chapman, Alaska Environment state director, issued the following statement:

“Willow poses an existential threat to the people and wildlife of the Western Arctic. Further, this is a proposal to literally re-freeze the tundra that is melting because of climate change to drill for more oil that will be burned and make climate change worse. The proposed Willow Project is absurd and Alaska does not need any part of it.”