Willow Project Press Release

Approval of Willow Project Implies Biden Administration’s
Climate Plans are Just for Show

Local organizers speak out against project that's set to further exacerbate the climate crisis

The Biden Administration recently approved the Willow Project, a drilling project that would produce greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to 56 million cars driven in a single year,  after vowing to center environmental justice and Indigenous communities’ needs. The Administration immediately broke its climate promise and continues to treat the people on the frontlines of climate change as if they are disposable. 

The climate crisis is the biggest threat to our planet and the people who live on it, but the Biden Administration continues to treat solving the crisis as an option. Just last year, the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) was passed, opening up new oil drilling and gas fields in Alaska and the Gulf of Mexico. The IRA was pitched to open up funding streams to “support” environmental justice, but it was also passed in the interest of fossil fuel companies and included provisions that make it easier for oil and natural gas drilling to continue and expand on federal lands. And now we’re immediately seeing how this legislation could be used to continue to put the health and safety of millions at risk for generations as the drillsite is guaranteed for a minimum of 30 years.  

The approval of this project is ironic, happening during the Alaska Legislative Session, but community-led organizations are speaking out against the project:

“We strongly condemn the Biden Administration’s approval of the Willow Project. It is morally reprehensible to inflict this massive oil extraction project in the midst of a climate crisis. It threatens the health, safety, and traditional lifeways of nearby Alaska Native communities. Millions of pounds of hazardous air emissions from surrounding oil and gas facilities already cause harm to the health of communities in close proximity such as Nuiqsut. This would add tremendous insult to injury. Approval of the Willow project is a giant step backwards and we vow to do everything that we can to prevent it.” 

Pamela Miller, Executive Director, Alaska Community Action on Toxics.


“FCAC condemns this new chapter of endless extraction and the continued prioritization of corporate and state profits over communities and a survivable climate. The Biden Administration’s approval of the Willow Master Development Plan has gravely dismissed the City of Nuiqsut and Native Village of Nuiqsut–the communities that will be encircled by even more fossil fuel infrastructure with increasingly dire consequences. We cannot continue to ignore Indigenous Sovereignty and sacrifice impacted communities as we barrel towards our energy future.  We must dismantle the influence and government fossil fuel subsidies in all forms that continue to prop up a dying, private industry. Willow is corruption and a climate failure.”

Alyssa Sappenfield, Energy Analyst, Fairbanks Climate Action Coalition 


The Justice40 program promised to give 40% of the federal climate dollars to disadvantaged communities, but we’re seeing a blatant contradiction. We cannot repair the ecological crisis while also contributing to it. The Willow Project is a step backwards in our demand for equity, liberation, and a just transition. 

Building Equity and Alignment for Environmental Justice will continue to build power by supporting local organizing through distributing wealth with participatory grantmaking and unrestricted funds, while standing in solidarity with communities on the frontline of climate change as we continue to fight for liberation.