Alaska residents, climate activists call on President Biden to shut down oil project

Published: Jan. 10, 2023 at 5:16 PM CST
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WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - Alaska residents and climate activists are calling on the Biden Administration to shut down the construction of an oil development project in the state.

They say if the project is approved, it could endanger their health and safety. Meanwhile, the company says their project, which includes an oil production facility, is completely safe.

The Alaska Wilderness League, The Wilderness Society, Sierra Club, Defenders of Wildlife, Evergreen Action, Environment America, Friends of the Earth, SILA, Sunrise Movement American University, Zero Hour and others protested in front of the White House Tuesday.

They want President Biden to reject an $8 billion oil and gas project in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska.

Eunice Brower, the treasurer of the small Alaskan village, Nuiqsut, said her daughter, Charity, was just a toddler when she was hospitalized due to an oil rig exploding near her hometown in 2012.

“It was hard to watch her struggle to breathe,” said Brower.

Thankfully, Charity survived.

But she and others are worried about other consequences ConocoPhillips’ Willow project might cause.

“Because of the location and the nearness to Teshekpuk Lake and the nearness to the ocean, this will affect the caribou and their migration around the lake,” said Nuiqsut Mayor Rosemary Ahtuangaruak.

In a statement, a ConocoPhillips spokesperson said, “Willow has undergone a comprehensive regulatory process for nearly five years with extensive public input, and Alaska Native communities on the North Slope have repeatedly voiced their support for the project.” The energy firm also pointed to their efforts to reach out to the affected communities about the advantages and disadvantages of the proposed Willow project.

Ahtuangaruak said her city relies on caribou for food and previous business projects have scared them away, causing her people to suffer from hunger.

Environmental groups have sent more than 100,000 comments of concern to the White House. The groups are scheduled to meet with Interior Secretary Deb Haaland Wednesday.

Alaska’s entire congressional delegation supports the project.