President Joe Biden finds himself caught between a political rock and a hard place with his latest efforts to be all things to all people. After the Department of the Interior chose to approve three out of five new Alaskan drilling sites in a ConocoPhillips endeavor called the Willow Project, the commander-in-chief is on the receiving end of a lawsuit from his former allies.
On Wednesday morning, March 15, a group of environmental organizations filed a federal suit against the administration for not stopping the oil project from going ahead. Having based much of his presidential campaign on “ending fossil fuels,” this 180-degree spin has climate activists up in arms and seeking action from the courts.
An Earthjustice attorney, Erik Grafe, said: “There is no question that the administration possessed the legal authority to stop Willow – yet it chose not to… It greenlit this carbon bomb without adequately assessing its climate impacts or weighing its options to limit the damage and say ‘no.'”
“The climate crisis is one of the greatest challenges we face, and President Biden has promised to do all he can to meet the moment,” Grafe continued. “We’re bringing today’s lawsuit to ensure that the administration follows the law and ultimately makes good on this promise for future generations.”
This is not the first time an administration has been sued over the Willow Project. Under President Donald Trump, Earthjustice filed suit on behalf of a number of environmental groups, including Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth.
“We are enraged that the administration has again approved Willow despite the clear threats posed to the Western Arctic’s vulnerable environment and communities,” Hallie Templeton, the legal director for Friends of the Earth, said. “Our prior victory forcing [the Bureau of Land Management] to re-do its environmental analysis should have proven that more must be done to protect our last remaining wild places from Big Oil’s exploitation.”
Biden Scales Down
The project is estimated to be worth more than 600 million barrels of crude oil over the next 30 years. With that comes a significant number of new jobs in an area of Alaska where work is often hard to find. State lawmakers are largely behind the new drilling pads and have argued that a share of the roughly $17 billion in revenue would be a significant boon for the indigenous population.
The president’s position is that by only approving three of the five proposed sites, the environmental impact will be much lower than critics argue. However, the groups challenging the decision say that the administration ignored alternatives to the project that would have a smaller carbon footprint.
Bipartisanship at Last?
Both of Alaska’s senators, Dan Sullivan and Lisa Murkowski, are on board with the Willow Project. During a press briefing earlier in the week, Sullivan noted that the administration was already preparing to defend itself in court. He argued:
“This is going to be the next hurdle, and it’s going to be a big battle, and it’s probably going to happen any day … What we’re going to try to do is make sure all the stakeholders … are also letting their voices be heard in this litigation. The public interest is not going to be articulated well by some of these far-left radical lower 48 groups.”
“Public interest is the legislators and members of Congress and elected leaders on the North Slope,” Sullivan continued. “And what we’re going to try and do is make sure the judge understands what those are. But we’re ready for this.”
Whether the administration is following the law will ultimately be determined by the court. But as for Biden making good on his campaign promises – well, perhaps it would be wise to heed the advice of Edmund Burke on that matter when he wrote: “Hypocrisy can afford to be magnificent in its promises, for never intending to go beyond promise, it costs nothing.”
All opinions expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of Liberty Nation.
Do you have an opinion about this article? We’d love to hear it! If you send your comments to [email protected], we might even publish your edited remarks in our new feature, LN Readers Speak Out. Remember to include the title of the article along with your name, city, and state.
Please respect our republishing guidelines. Republication permission does not equal site endorsement. Click here.
Liberty Nation Today:
Trump Indictment Could Open the Floodgates - Other legal actions against the president now loom large. - Read Now!
Veterans to Congress: Wokeness is Hurting Readiness - Defense Department is distracted with woke nonsense and unable to meet military threats. - Read Now!
Saving Healthcare From Catastrophe - The left and right agree: America’s healthcare system is broken. - Read Now!
DeSantis Beats the Drum – LN Radio Videocast - Casting a light on the Florida governor’s ambitions. - Watch Now!
Arizona Border Security Under Attack by Governor Katie Hobbs - What happened to her campaign promise of increased border security? - Read Now!