The Biden administration has advanced a $8bn drilling project on Alaska’s north slope. The ConocoPhillips Willow project, which would be one of the largest oil and gas developments on federal territory, has drawn fierce opposition from environmentalists, who say its approval runs counter to the president’s ambitious climate goals.
An environmental assessment released by the interior department on Wednesday recommends a scaled-back version of the project ConocoPhillips originally proposed, and would produce about 600m barrels of oil over 30 years, with a peak of 180,000 barrels of crude oil a day.
Environmental groups and the Native village of Nuiqsut, which would be most affected by the project in the northernmost stretch of Alaska, have opposed the project, which they say would mark the end of a way of life for communities in the rapidly warming Arctic. It would also exacerbate air pollution problems in a region where oil and gas extraction projects are already contributing to elevated rates of asthma and other health conditions.