President’s approval of oil drilling stirs the U.S. in the wrong direction


Glacier in Alaska is at greater risk of melting and being destroyed because of oil drilling.

Seth Eaton, Opinion Section Editor

Earlier this week, the Biden administration approved energy firm ConocoPhillips for an oil drilling project in Alaska called the ‘Willow Project.’ According to estimates by ConocoPhillips, this project could bring in a revenue of around $17 billion. The money would be distributed amongst the local, state and federal governments. While there is no doubt this project boosts the economy, many of those to the left of the political spectrum believe Biden’s signing is a big mistake.

At the beginning of President Biden’s term, he spoke of ambitious plans about climate change, repeating the idea to move away from fossil fuels and invest in clean and renewable energy. Leftists and environmentalists were thrilled by these proposals, but now are left in disappointment and bitterness. 

“Because the Biden administration had promised during the election that they would stop any new oil projects and work towards a more sustainable country and planet, it’s disappointing that so many environmentalists were made these promises to then have the administration turn their backs and do the exact thing they promised not to do,” Earth club president Lilly Conner said. 

The process of drilling and the consumption of oil does much harm to the environment. With the drilling process, animals are stripped of their habitats and natural landscapes are torn and destroyed in order to place the pumps. Oil sites also give off light pollution, harming bees and other pollinators, causing plants to die. 

“It’s going to be such a devastatingly large project geographically that all of these habitats for all of these animals will be completely disrupted,” Conner said.

The burning of these fuels releases an abundance of pollutants. Whether in the air or the water, these pollutants can harm the wildlife and the people of Alaska. The project will produce approximately an additional 560 million barrels of oil. The increase in oil supply means an increase in gasoline-powered vehicles. As many people thought society was taking a positive step away from the carbon-emitting cars, this project looks to backpedal the progress. 

“The environmental impacts of carbon pollution that we see from oil drilling in general will now be seen on a much larger scale and on a much larger time frame,” Conner said. 

Carbon emissions from the additional oil supply would drastically escalate the already dangerous effects of climate change. The excessive amount of carbon emissions will only intensify the greenhouse gas effect, which prevents gas from leaving Earth’s atmosphere, causing temperatures to rise. 

Approval of the oil drilling project not only harms the environment and largely contributes to climate change, but also tightens the U.S.’s reliance on oil. All detrimental impacts to the environment aside, the U.S. is still dependent on a limited energy resource. Eventually, the oil supply will run out, which then poses a severe problem.