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Governor Dunleavy Welcomes Approval of the Willow Project, but New Oil and Gas Restrictions in NPR-A will Harm Alaska

Mar 13, 2023

Today the U.S. Bureau of Land Management issued a Record of Decision approving an alternative for ConocoPhillips’ Willow Project on the North Slope that permits three drill pads. In a separate move, the Biden administration announced that it will lock up millions more acres in Alaska that were specifically set aside for oil production and development.

Willow is expected to create as many as 2,500 jobs during construction and 300 permanent jobs. The project is expected to produce about 180,000 barrels of oil a day at its peak and generate at least $8 billion in revenue for federal, state and local governments.

However, in an announcement Sunday the Biden administration announced its intent to prohibit future oil and gas development in nearly 16 million acres in Alaska. The Willow project, while significant in its economic contributions to Alaska, is a project with a footprint of about 500 acres.

“It’s disgraceful that the Biden administration thinks that this is a compromise that will benefit America,” said Governor Mike Dunleavy. “Taking future oil production in Alaska off the map won’t decrease global oil consumption. 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. In the end, every American pays the price when President Biden restricts our ability to develop our own energy resources.”

The Biden administration announced Sunday plans to ban oil and gas production in more than 13 million acres in the National Petroleum Reserve – Alaska, as well as 2.8 million acres in the Arctic Ocean nearshore the NPR-A. The National Petroleum Reserve – Alaska was set first aside in 1923 to provide an emergency supply of oil for the U.S. Navy, and in 1976, Congress directed the land to be available to lease for oil and gas production. The Biden administration’s plans to prohibit oil and gas in a massive portion of the National Petroleum Reserve – Alaska blatantly ignores Congress’s original intent.

“Once again the Biden Administration is offering up Alaska as a sacrifice to appease the cult of climate extremism,” said Department of Natural Resources Commissioner-Designee John Boyle. “Forestalling development across 16 million acres to atone for an energy project barely 500 acres is emblematic of an environmental fanaticism that should concern all rational people. We Alaskans are left hoping for a future day when federal policy isn’t served with a pitcher of green Kool-Aid.”