Alaska Delegation Welcomes Next-To-Last Step for Federal Re-Approval of Willow Project
Washington, DC – U.S. Senators Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska) and U.S. Representative Mary Sattler Peltola (D-Alaska) today welcomed the Department of the Interior’s (DOI) release of a Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (FSEIS) for ConocoPhillips’ Willow Project on Alaska’s North Slope.
“The Willow Project has earned very broad support from communities on the North Slope, Alaska Native leaders, labor unions, and stakeholders across the political spectrum. That’s because Willow is environmentally-just, meticulously planned, and will bring significant economic, fiscal, and security benefits with truly minimal environmental impact,” Senator Murkowski said. “While it has been a long and arduous road to get back to this point, we have pushed hard, as a delegation, and are now just one step away from Willow’s re-approval. I urge the administration to maintain a viable project by selecting Alternative E – without further limits or extraneous conditions – in its Record of Decision. Thousands of good union jobs—and immense benefits that will be felt across Alaska and the nation—will hang in the balance until a positive final decision has been issued.”
“The final supplemental EIS released today is an important step. The Willow project is enormously important, not only for the economic security of Alaska, but also for the energy security of the nation and all hardworking Americans who have suffered from record energy prices for too long,” said Senator Sullivan. “I appreciate the support of the very broad-based group of Alaskans—Alaska Native communities, labor unions, leaders of the North Slope Borough, the Alaska Federation of Natives (AFN), and countless others—who have strongly endorsed this project. In the next 30 days, collectively, we need to amplify our voices in support of this project. We know radical far-left environmental groups, their allies in the White House, and adversaries like Russia, China, and Venezuela, do not want to see this project happen. For the good of Alaska and our country, we must continue to keep the pressure on this administration to produce a final record of decision that ensures this project remains economically viable with at least three drilling pads. Further delaying or halting this project only serves to harm hard-working Americans, our environment, and the national security of America.”
“The Willow Project has been one of my top priorities because it is deeply important to our future as a state,” said Representative Peltola. “In the short term, this project will provide thousands of good-paying union jobs and help jump-start Alaska’s economy. In the long term, the revenues from Willow will pay for essential state services like public safety and investments in our education system. Crucially, this revenue source will also give the state options to address large challenges like our changing climate and economic outmigration. At a time when Republican and Democratic leaders in Alaska are both discussing the importance of investing in education to meet these challenges, Willow is the obvious choice to realize the revenue needed for those investments. By keeping the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System alive, this project will help give Alaska a fighting chance to find new paths forward to a cleaner economy.
I am glad for the release of the Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement and urge the Biden Administration to move forward with final approval of the project by selecting the preferred Alternative E plan, which allows 3 drill sites, the minimum for Willow to remain economically viable. Anything less would effectively kill the project, amounting to a backdoor veto over the people of Alaska, who have made their voices heard through a broad coalition of labor, business, community, and Alaska Native leaders. This coalition includes the Inupiat Community of the North Slope, the North Slope Borough, the Arctic Slope Regional Corporation, and more. The Willow project has been thoroughly studied and has earned a social license from the region and the state—it’s time to let Alaskans get to work.”
- On December 21, 2022 the Alaska delegation received a commitment from the Biden administration that the FSEIS would be released by the end of January 2023 and the Record of Decision completed by the end of February 2023.
- On September 20, 2022 the Alaska delegation sent a letter to Interior Secretary Deb Haaland urging the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to complete the permitting process for the Willow Project in the National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska (NPR-A) by the end of the year, in time for the winter construction season.
- In July 2022, 2022 BLM Alaska issued a draft supplemental environmental impact statement (SEIS) for the Willow Project.
- On July 15, 2022, Senators Murkowski and Sullivan wrote a letter to Secretary Haaland reiterating their strong support of the Willow Project and urging the Department of the Interior to promptly approve it.
- On March 8, 2022, Senators Murkowski and Sullivan and the late Congressman Don Young (R-Alaska) wrote a letter to Secretary Haaland urging the Department of the Interior to expeditiously complete an SEIS and re-approve the Willow Project.
- On May 26, 2021, the U.S. Department of Justice filed a brief with the U.S. District Court for Alaska defending the Willow Project. After reviewing the final ROD for the Willow Master Development Plan (MDP), approved in October 2020 by the Trump administration, for consistency with the Biden administration’s initial executive orders on addressing climate change, the administration found the ROD legally sufficient. The filing followed weeks of advocacy and outreach by the Alaska delegation to President Biden and his administration.
- On April 26, 2021, the municipal mayors of Utqiagvik, Wainwright, and Atqasuk—three communities located within the boundaries of NPR-A—wrote to Secretary Haaland asking her to allow the Willow MDP to move forward.
- On April 21, 2021, George Edwardson, president of the Iñupiat Community of the Arctic Slope, wrote to Secretary Haaland in support of the Willow MDP.
- On April 15, 2021, North Slope Borough Mayor Harry Brower, Jr. and Alaska Natural Resources Commissioner Corri Feige wrote to Secretary Haaland urging her to allow responsible oil and gas development on federal lands in Alaska to proceed.
- On February 13, 2021, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals extended a District Court injunction of the Willow MDP, pending appeal.
- On February 1, 2021, the U.S. District Court for Alaska issued an injunction on the Willow MDP.
- On October 27, 2020, BLM issued the ROD for the Willow MDP.
- On August 14, 2020, BLM published the final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the Willow MDP.