Biden abandons Alaska oil drilling project after previously vowing to defend it

AP Photo/Evan Vucci

The Willow Master Development Plan has been abandoned by the Biden administration though the administration previously defended the oil and gas project in Alaska. This is a legal victory for climate change activists trying to destroy the fossil fuel industry in America.

ConocoPhillips, a Texas-based oil and gas company was developing the multi-billion dollar project after approval received during the Trump administration. Last August a federal judge ruled that the federal government had not adequately reviewed the emissions profile of the drilling project. Judge Sharon Gleason of the U.S. District Court of the District of Alaska ruled that the Willow Project would harm wildlife and the environment. The judge’s ruling was in response to the Justice Department filing a brief to the court defending the Trump administration’s approval of the project last May. At that time DOJ noted that the multi-billion dollar project would produce more than 100,000 barrels of oil per day for the next 30 years. The state’s congressional delegation was pleased with the Biden administration’s support. Senator Lisa Murkowski said that the administration’s support for the oil and gas project was a step in the right direction after getting off to such a disastrous start at the beginning of Biden’s term in office.

Environmental groups filed a lawsuit last December claiming that the project’s environmental impact statement didn’t meet the requirements under existing environmental regulations. They alleged that the project didn’t take into account its impact on the wildlife populations and contributed to climate change. That’s a common stalling move by the leave-it-in-the-gound activists. They tie up projects with red-tape, particularly environmental studies, as we saw with the Keystone Pipeline XL project, for example. Biden quickly killed that project during his first day in office to appease climate change alarmists though the multiple environmental studies produced showed that the project would not have an adverse effect on the environment. Biden’s temporary moratorium on new oil and gas leases on federal land also found ConocoPhillips facing headwinds.

The Biden administration argued that the Trump administration’s decision to approve the project last October complied with environmental regulations at the time. The Interior Department noted that the plaintiffs didn’t challenge its approval “within the time limitations associated with environmental review projects.”

It turns out the Biden administration’s support was short-lived. The Department of the Interior failed to file an appeal to the judge’s block of the project in August. The deadline for the filing was Tuesday and the deadline came and went without any action from the administration. The climate change alarmists quickly responded with glee for their victory. That is, no doubt, what the Biden administration was hoping for – getting the radical leftists in the anti-fossil fuel lobby on its side, especially leading up to the climate change summit in Glasgow next week.

“Today’s affirmation of our legal victory against the Willow project is a win for the climate and for an irreplaceable Alaska landscape,” Jeremy Lieb, an attorney for the group Earthjustice, said in a statement Wednesday. “We are glad to see that President Biden is taking positive steps in his commitment toward a cleaner energy future.”

“We hope the Biden administration’s choice to accept the federal court’s decision of halting ConocoPhillips’ Willow project is the beginning of the end of federal backing of fossil fuels,” Greenpeace USA senior research specialist Tim Donaghy said in a statement.

The Trump administration’s approval of the Willow Project was part of its goal of reaching American energy independence. The Trump administration accomplished that goal and since then, with the election of Joe Biden, the far left has found its way back in charge of energy policy. Joe Biden is actively doing all he can to destroy the fossil fuel industry, mostly out of his ignorance of the industry. All he knows are radical left talking points that he recites when he speaks about the topic.

At the time of Judge Gleason’s ruling in August, the Alaskan congressional delegation voiced objections. As I write this on Thursday morning, I do not find any responses to the Biden administration’s decision not to appeal the ruling on social media accounts of either senator or Rep. Young.

The entire congressional delegation from Alaska – Sens. Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan and Rep. Don Young – have been vocal proponents of the project, arguing it would produce 100,000 barrels of oil per day, lead to $10 billion in government revenue and create 2,000 construction jobs and 300 permanent jobs. They also applauded the Biden administration after its brief defending Willow in May.

“This decision won’t do one thing to help the environment,” Sullivan said in a statement following the August ruling. “To the contrary, it further delays one of Alaska’s most strategic energy development projects, which will benefit our adversaries that produce oil, like Russia, Venezuela and Iran, whose environmental standards are some of the worst in the world.”

“The Biden Administration needs to keep its commitment to the Alaskan people by continuing to defend the Willow project in court for the sake of American energy,” he continued.

This is more ineptness and incompetence by Team Biden, likely deliberate. We are facing supply chain disruptions, growing inflation, and the price of gas to fill our cars is rapidly rising. The administration is tone-deaf and indifferent to the lives of ordinary Americans. It’s a callous approach to governing. The Biden administration is facing a huge embarrassment on the international stage over showing up in Glasgow next week for the climate change conference with nothing to show for America’s commitment to making the subject a top priority. The infrastructure bill is held up in Congress and Democrats’ wish list of burdening American taxpayers with saving the planet is on the backburner for now. The administration is more concerned about being a member of the international club than showing commitment to American jobs and energy independence. Biden goes hat-in-hand to OPEC to beg them to pump more oil into the world market to reduce prices and increase supply instead of allowing projects to move forward on American soil. In Biden’s America, we are back to the days of energy dependence and demonizing energy producers.