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Biden expected to OK controversial Alaska drilling project Monday

The Biden administration is expected to approve a controversial Alaska oil drilling project known as the Willow Project on Monday, a source familiar with the plans told The Hill. 

ConocoPhillips’s Willow Project would allow for as many as 629,000 barrels of oil to be extracted over the project’s 30-year life span, according to documentation pitching the project.

Two sources said that they expect the Biden administration to approve three drill sites. A fourth site that was proposed to be deferred until a later date is now expected to be rejected, a source said. As many as five drill sites were considered for the project.

The New York Times first reported that the approval would come Monday and would be reduced to three drill sites.

Asked for comment, a White House spokesperson referred The Hill to a Friday statement from the administration that a decision had not yet been made. 

“No final decisions have been made – anyone who says there has been a final decision is wrong,” Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said in a written statement on Friday. 

The Willow Project has faced significant opposition from the left and an approval would anger some members of President Biden’s base. 

The proposal document said that the project could ultimately result in a total of 278,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions  — equivalent to driving 59,900 cars for a year.

On Sunday night, the Biden administration announced certain steps aimed at limiting other oil and gas drilling in and around Alaska, though the moves are not expected to appease the project’s critics. 

Supporters of the Willow Project say that it will bring economic benefits to the region and increase oil supplies. 

The Willow Project was initially approved by the Trump administration in 2020, but the approval was struck down in court in 2021. 

Judge Sharon Gleason said at the time that the environmental review that the government undertook for the project was inadequate, including the assessment of the project’s climate impacts. She axed the Trump administration’s approval of the project, and sent it back to the Biden administration for further study.

Source: The Hill

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