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Biden approves $8 billion oil project

An exploratory drilling camp on the Willow project site. Associated Press/ConocoPhillips

Biden approves $8 billion oil project

The Biden administration approved ConocoPhillips’ Willow project on Monday which plans to extract about 600 million barrels of oil from federal land in Alaska. ConocoPhillips says the project would create a tax windfall of billions of dollars for federal, Alaska, and local governments. Critics argue the plan would be bad for the environment. ConocoPhillips reduced the number of drill pads by about 40 percent before approval but plans to still access most of the estimated oil. Alaskan officials say the plan will generate about 2,500 jobs and funnel millions into the economy. 

Why did Biden approve the project? During President Joe Biden’s campaign, he promised not to allow any more drilling on federal land. Some companies have sued and won the right to drill, but thus far he had not willingly approved a plan. But ConocoPhillips has held leases to the land for more than 20 years that conveyed rights to drill, John Leshy, the Interior Department’s solicitor under President Bill Clinton, told the New York Times. He said to deny the contracts would essentially be a breach of contract and the fight could have cost the government billions of dollars. 

Dig deeper: Listen to my report on The World and Everything in It podcast about the switch to electric vehicles to reduce emissions.

Mary Muncy

Mary Muncy is a breaking news reporter for WORLD. She graduated from World Journalism Institute and Patrick Henry College.

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