Castro Valley High School’s award-winning student newspaper. We are born to seek the truth!


Willow Arctic Oil Project approved: Woes and wants for the future

On Monday, March 13, 2023, the highly controversial Alaska Oil Project was approved by the Biden administration, much to environmentalists’ disappointment. The $8 million oil project, also known as the Willow Project, faced mass criticism due to the environmental changes it may cause, including the release of 277 million tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere over the course of thirty years. The project hopes to hold up to 600 million barrels of oil. However, oil would take years to reach the market as the drills have not been constructed.

The project faces mixed opinions from both Democrats and Republicans. Advocates for climate change voice concerns about the oil drilling project by ConocoPhillips.

 Defenders of the project claim that the Willow Project will be a cheaper and cleaner alternative for fossil fuel usage than buying oil from other countries. Meanwhile, the other advocacy for oil projects is to reduce demand for them, as higher-cost producers like Canada and the US would yield to low-cost producers such as Iraq and Saudi Arabia. However, this also brings issues to how the failure to prevent further oil exploitation is not restricted to the United States but globally as well, as places like Canada and Norway have high carbon taxes. But environmentalists continue to fight for the cause that this newly approved project will surely impact the Earth in a negative way with increases in temperature and the climate in the near future. 

“I think the Alaska Oil Project is really bad because we already have climate problems in the United States,” said junior Sophia Pereira. “And just further approving these massive projects; we’re really doing irreparable damage when we need to actually be doing conservation and environmentalism,” she continued. 

Yet, another challenge to the newly approved project is with the Biden administration. In Biden’s campaign in 2020, he vowed to eliminate new gas and oil drilling, contradicting his current actions today. But despite the negative feedback from the public, the White House blames previous administrations. 

“The difficult decision was on what we do with the Willow Project in Alaska, and my strong inclination was to disapprove of it across the board,” said Biden, in an interview with Fox News. “But the advice I got from counsel was that if that were the case, we may very well lose in court — lose that case in court to the oil company — and then not be able to do what I really want to do beyond that, and that is conserved significant amounts of Alaskan sea and land forever.”

But Biden’s actions still have consequences, as oil powers the economy, politics, and climate change. A decrease in oil production would lead to higher energy prices, as the demand for oil continues to increase: to heat homes, fuel transportation, generate electricity, and much more. But as oil teeters on the edge of necessity and causes climate change as a consequence of politics and legislation, voters, especially environmentalists that once approved of Biden’s presidential campaign, might not be as keen to re-elect. 

According to statistics from the Washington Post, the Biden administration has surpassed the number of permits allowing the drilling of federal land than that of former President Donald Trump.

With the sudden introduction of change to federal land in Alaska, others take note that there is nothing that can be done to replace the gas and oil industries right now, nor is there such an immediate impact that the public needs to worry about. Still, the looming issue of climate change and temperature rise may continue to haunt us in the coming times.