President Joe Biden looking at whether to approve a major oil and gas drilling project in Alaska that has bipartisan support from the state’s congressional delegation but is fiercely opposed by environmental groups. A decision is expected sometime this week.
The saffron belongs to something called the Willow Project – the biggest pending one oil and gas project in the US – proposed by ConocoPhillips to develop energy resources in a small part of what is known as the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska on the North Slope of Alaska.
Alaska’s bipartisan delegation to Congress – Republican Sens. Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan and Democratic Rep. Mary Peltola – met with the president last week and emphasized their support for the project.
ALL ALASKA DELEGATION MEET WITH BIDEN AT WHITE HOUSE, IMPROVING BIG OIL PROJECT
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) recently issued a decision narrowing the scope of the Willow Project from the five drill pads requested by ConocoPhillips to three. The company said three were the minimum required to make the project economically viable and that they would be willing to start drilling “immediately” if all three were approved.
Environmental groups even oppose a smaller version of the project. The Sierra Club said in a press release last month, “The Willow project would have a devastating impact on public lands and our climate, and if approved after the passage of the largest climate bill in history would A huge step back.”
Peter Doocy from Fox News White House secretary Karine Jean-Pierre pressed the Willow Project during a briefing on Monday, asking whether energy security or the reduction of fossil fuels is more important to President Biden.
BIDEN ADMINISTRATION JOINS CLIMATE PROGRAM IN LEAKED INTERNAL MEMO
Jean-Pierre replied, “It doesn’t have to be one or the other, we can try to do both.”
Doocy noted Biden’s 2019 pledge — “I promise you, we’re going to end fossil fuel” — and asked if that means the project is dead.
Jean-Pierre explained that the president was grateful to hear from the Alaskan delegation to “understand what their concerns are” but that she is not going to advance the decision of Interior Secretary Deb Haaland on the project.
Scrutiny of Biden’s decision on the Willow Project comes after a recent controversy involving another energy project in Alaska.
ALASKA REPUBLICAN DEMANDS BIDEN ‘BETTER THAN DEAD’ ON LATEST SAIL PROJECT OIL DRILLING PROPOSAL
Last week, the Biden administration’s Interior Department mistakenly released an internal memo regarding another energy project in Alaska – Cook Inlet Lease Sale 258 – that was mandated by the Inflation Reduction Act. The memo showed that the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) was emphasizing the project’s impact on climate change despite the energy security and tax revenue it would deliver.
“Development of the Cook Inlet prospect would result in additional government revenue and improved energy security for the State of Alaska, particularly if the development of natural gas resources in the Cook Inlet would improve the long-term supply challenges facing the Anchorage area,” the memo said.
“However, due to serious challenges facing the Nation from climate change and the impact of [greenhouse gases] from fossil fuels, BOEM is not recommending this option since it would not include an appropriate surcharge to account for those impacts,” BOEM continued. The agency recommended increasing royalty rates from 16 and two-thirds one hundred to 18 and three-quarters per cent – the maximum allowed under the Inflation Reduction Act.
VIEW FOX’S BUSINESS THROUGH BUSINESS HERE
Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chairman Joe Manchin, DW.Va., criticized the BOEM for the memo, saying in a press release, “I am very pleased with what it contains, which clearly shows that this administration is advancing its radical climate agenda ahead of the needs of the European Union. the people of Alaska and the United States.”
Fox Business’ Thomas Catenacci and Reuters contributed to this report.