Democrats Pressure Biden to Reject Willow Project’s Arctic Drilling

Practically two dozen Democratic lawmakers from the U.S. Senate and Home — in addition to impartial Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont — have written to President Joe Biden imploring him to place the final nail within the coffin of an “ill-conceived and misguided” oil and gasoline drilling challenge in Alaska that specialists say would destroy the president’s climate legacy if permitted in any type.

Led by Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.), rating member of the Home Pure Assets Committee, and Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Chair of the Senate Surroundings and Public Works Subcommittee on Clear Air, Local weather, and Nuclear Security, the letter urges Biden and Inside Secretary Deb Haaland to reject remaining approval of the 30-year ConocoPhillips’ Willow Venture in Alaska’s Nationwide Petroleum Reserve.

“No model of the Willow [Master Development Plan (MDP)] is constant along with your commitments to fight the local weather disaster and promote environmental justice, particularly as mirrored within the Inflation Discount Act, historic laws on which all of us collaborated to realize these essential objectives,” the letter states.

“If allowed to proceed,” the lawmakers argue, the Willow challenge “would pose a major risk to U.S. progress on local weather points,” citing estimates that the challenge may unleash upwards of $19.8 billion in climate-related damages.

The letter comes days after White Home officers floated the opportunity of a scaled-back Willow Venture, however environmentalists have stated, as Frequent Desires reported Wednesday, that “no type of this challenge is OK.”

The Bureau of Land Administration has estimated that even a scaled-back model would emit round 9.2 million metric tons of carbon dioxide every year and Earthjustice, which has fought Willow in court docket, has warned that the approval request now earlier than the Inside Division “would carry at the very least 219 wells, 267 miles of pipelines, and 30 miles of roads to an enormous public lands space in Alaska’s Western Arctic, completely altering a globally vital and ecologically wealthy panorama.”

Of their letter, the lawmakers inform Biden and Haaland that the one plan of action ought to be “no motion,” following the discharge of the ultimate supplemental environmental affect assertion (SEIS) on the challenge earlier this 12 months. In response to the letter:

The ultimate SEIS features a most popular different that may defer one drill website and require extra evaluation for an additional, however we worry that the Willow MDP is meant to function an infrastructure hub that anchors a decades-long push in direction of elevated drilling within the Western Arctic. Local weather injury is unlikely to cease with the primary part of the Willow challenge; your Administration wants to attract the road now.

In a separate letter on Friday, the grassroots advocacy group Progressive Democrats of America additionally urged Biden to acknowledge the historic and legacy-building alternative in rejecting the Willow challenge utterly.

“We enchantment to what’s most sincere, sensible, and most brave in you,” states the group’s letter, which was signed by leaders and members of PDA chapters nationwide. “To the elder in you. To the grandfather in you. Don’t gamble with our lives and with the lives of generations but unborn. Reject the Willow Oil Venture.”

Grijalva and Markey have been joined within the bicameral letter by Rep. Nanette Diaz Barragán (D-Calif.), Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.), Rep. Jamaal Bowman(D-N.Y.), Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.), Rep. Diana DeGette (D-Colo.), Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Sick.), Rep. Jared Huffman (D-Calif.), Rep. Pramila Jayapal(D-Wash.), Rep. Ro Khanna(D-Calif.), Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), Rep. Mike Levin (D-Calif.), Sen. Jeffrey A. Merkley (D-Ore.), Rep. Gwen S. Moore (D-Wis.), Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez(D-N.Y.), Sen. Bernie Sanders(I-Vt.), Rep. Janice Schakowsky (D-Sick.), Rep. Darren Soto (D-Fla.), Sen. Elizabeth Warren(D-Mass.), and Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.).

“The Willow Venture would result in over 9 million metric tons of carbon emissions per 12 months,” said Rep. Khanna in a social media put up Friday evening. “It could be a victory for Large Oil and an enormous step backwards on local weather.”

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