Alaskans Voice Strong Support for Willow Project
In case you missed it, U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) issued the following statement in strong support of ConocoPhillips’ Willow project, located in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska (NPR-A), after the federal Bureau of Land Management (BLM) published a draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement for it late last week.
“From day one, I’ve elevated the Willow project to the Administration as my top priority, and I will continue to hold them accountable to their commitment to see this additional environmental review through so that construction can begin this winter. Responsibly-developed Alaskan energy benefits both our national security and American families who are facing near-record energy prices,” said Senator Murkowski. “The Willow project has gone through several extraordinarily stringent environmental reviews and will adhere to Alaska’s world-class safety and environmental standards. It’s no wonder the project has such broad support from Alaskans—including the Alaska Federation of Natives, the Alaska AFL-CIO, the Alaska Chamber of Commerce, and Alaska Native stakeholders across the North Slope.”
Willow is critical to Alaska’s economy, throughput in the quarter-full Trans Alaska Pipeline System, domestic energy security, and making energy more affordable for families and businesses. The project is estimated to provide up to 160,000 barrels of American oil per day at peak production; $10 billion in revenue for state, local, and federal governments during its lifespan; 2,000 construction jobs, and 300 permanent jobs.
Following last week’s announcement, a wide array of Alaskans joined Senator Murkowski in voicing their continued strong support for the Willow project and thanking her and the delegation for their long-standing advocacy of it. Murkowski encourages all Alaskans to weigh in, in favor of Willow’s final approval, through BLM’s 45-day public comment process.
WHAT ALASKANS ARE SAYING
“RDC welcomed the news of the release of the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) draft supplemental environmental impact statement for the Willow project,” said Leila Kimbrell, Executive Director for the Resource Development Council for Alaska. “After a delay to the project because of an August 2021 court decision, RDC is pleased to see the draft SEIS released in time to keep a winter construction season and we thank Senator Murkowski for keeping pressure on the administration to put this project back on track. We know this will be a responsibly developed project, having already undergone a rigorous multiyear environmental review. It’s time to move forward with a responsible domestic energy project that will create thousands of jobs, generate tens of billions of dollars, and strengthen our energy independence.”
“The Willow Project is critical to the economic well-being of our region’s eight Iñupiat villages. Every delay in the project also delays the economic, infrastructure and employment benefits the project will bring to North Slope communities and our people. ASRC extends our gratitude to Senator Murkowski, Senator Sullivan and the late Congressman Don Young for their unwavering commitment to moving the Willow Project forward,” said Rex A. Rock, Sr., President and CEO of Arctic Slope Regional Corporation.
“Thanks to Senator Murkowski for fighting for what is good for Alaska and America; more domestic oil in the pipeline, good jobs that support a family and lower fuel costs in our future. Once again, Lisa gets it done. Alaskans should be so proud of this tireless fighter for our state,” said Joelle Hall, President of Alaska AFL-CIO.
“ConocoPhillips and many stakeholders, including residents of the North Slope and across Alaska are committed to the Willow project as it will supply much needed energy for the United States, while serving as a strong example of environmentally and socially responsible development that offers extensive public benefits. The Willow project has undergone an extensive and rigorous multi-year environmental analysis, including extensive baseline scientific studies. The project will also create employment opportunities for union labor and contribute local tax revenue that benefit communities on the North Slope, as well as significant state and federal tax revenue for many years. ConocoPhillips thanks the Alaska Congressional Delegation – Senators Murkowski and Sullivan, and the late Congressman Young – for their tremendous efforts in advocating for the Willow project,” said Erec Isaacson, President of ConocoPhillips Alaska.
“Inupiat Community of the Arctic Slope supports the development of the Willow Project. Responsible development for our region will provide infrastructure, jobs and economic growth for our tribal members. ICAS is pleased with the environmental reviews that took place to ensure safe development,” said Morrie Lemen, Jr., Executive Director of the Inupiat Community of The Arctic Slope.
“The desperate need for the Willow project could not come at a more critical juncture in time. Alaskans and Americans across the country are paying record high energy prices, while the more than 20 year struggle to get the Willow project developed serves as a chilling reminder that what stands between Americans and lower energy prices is nothing but bureaucratic red tape. Meanwhile, this vital project that can drive energy abundance, is tucked away in the NPR-A because government can’t get out of the way. We appreciate Senator Murkowski’s tenacity on this issue and we look forward to working with her to rollback despotic environmental regulations,” said Bernadette Wilson, State Director of Americans for Prosperity Alaska.
“Energy security is vital to our country. Alaska has a critical role and ability to provide needed energy. Among the whole array of energy options, the Willow project can be a shining example of success,” said Julie Kitka, President of the Alaska Federation of Natives.
“The release of the draft environmental review for the Willow project comes at a critical time for Alaska and the nation. Along with the majority of Alaskans, the Alaska Chamber is a steadfast supporter of responsible development projects that provide jobs, economic opportunity, and increased revenue to state, local, and federal governments. Now, more than ever, the United States needs to increase domestic energy supply and enact and defend sound policy that encourages development of our natural resources at home. The Chamber thanks Senators Murkowski and Sullivan for their persistence in keeping the Willow project at the forefront of the discussion with the Biden Administration and ensuring the project receives due process,” said Kati Capozzi, President and CEO of the Alaska Chamber of Commerce.
“Through the North Slope Borough permitting process we exercise zoning and other oversight that has– in partnership with the State and Fed’s – led to some of the strictest environmental regulations in our nation and one of the best examples of responsible development in the world. Senator Murkowski knows this and was a champion for our region on endeavors like the Willow project. Willow will not only lead to jobs, but better schools, health clinics, and transportation infrastructure and we can’t thank the Senator enough for continuing to fight for the region and the State,” said D.J. Fauske, Director of Government and External Affairs for the North Slope Borough.
“It is encouraging to see the Bureau of Land Management release the revised draft environmental review of ConocoPhillips’ proposed Willow Master Development Plan in the National Petroleum Reserve, or NPR-A. AOGA and its allies will be fully engaged in the public meetings to come, and we encourage all Alaskans to learn more about the project’s benefits and participate as the process moves forward. Willow represents a near-term opportunity to help return the United States to energy independence at a time when our country desperately needs more domestic sources of oil and gas. Of course, a project the size of Willow will also boost Alaska’s economy, creating job opportunities and providing tax revenues to state, local, and federal governments. Alaskans have long supported development of our oil and gas resources. Now is the time to speak up and let the federal government know how those of us who call Alaska home feel about projects like Willow: no one cares more about protecting our environment or safely developing Alaska’s resources than Alaskans. Alaskans who want to be a part of this significant step forward have a 45-day comment period to make their voices heard,” said Kara Moriarty, President and CEO of the Alaska Oil and Gas Association.
“The Willow project represents a valid compliment to rising energy needs while contributing to the health, well-being, security and self-determination of the region, state and country. Regulatory process would be better served by more effective implementation of process and less evaluation by political trends,” said Douglas Whiteman, Mayor of the City of Atqasuk on the North Slope.