Dem senator blasts Biden over approving Alaska oil drilling project

March 14, 2023

Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) blasted President Joe Biden for approving an oil drilling project in northern Alaska.

Markey, a major climate change supporter, spoke out against the Willow Project as a "disastrous decision."

The remarks

“By investing in the fossil-fueled past and not the green-energy future, we are failing frontline environmental justice communities who are bearing the brunt of climate chaos, and American consumers who remain at the whim of rising and volatile prices of oil and gas,” Markey said.

“I am in solidarity with the community of advocates who oppose this disastrous decision and will continue fighting alongside them to put our people and our planet ahead of the profits of Big Oil,” he added.

Republican response

“Taking future oil production in Alaska off the map won’t decrease global oil consumption,” Alaskan Gov. Mike Dunleavy (R) said. “It will just shift the market and give leverage to producers in countries that don’t have our high standards for the environment and human rights.”

He added, “It’s disgraceful that the Biden administration thinks that this is a compromise that will benefit America.”

The approved project did make major reductions to the original plan by ConocoPhillips.

"The Record of Decision denies two of the five drill site pads proposed by ConocoPhillips, reducing the project’s drill pads by 40 percent," the Interior Department said in a statement.

"The concurrent relinquishment of 68,000 acres by the company of its existing northernmost and southernmost leases within the Bear Tooth Unit reduces the Bear Tooth Unit’s footprint in the NPR-A by one-third," it added.

Climate change activists continue to sound the alarm over any new drilling, seeing the Willow Project as a rejection of its call to end fossil fuels and Biden's approval as a weakness for his administration.

Others see the need to continue developing American oil to help the nation grow its energy independence, recognizing that fossil fuels will remain essential for many decades into the future.

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