Albuquerque Journal

Heinrich, Stansbury slam Willow project OK

Drilling planned near Arctic Circle


Several New Mexico members of Congress pushed back at their usual allies in the Biden administra­tion and Interior Secretary Deb Haaland over the approval of a massive oil-drilling project in Alaska known as Willow. The Biden administra­tion announced its formal approval of the project Monday. The project — proposed by ConocoPhil­lips Alaska Inc. — will take place about 200 miles north of the Arctic Circle on the country’s largest single expanse of undevelope­d, pristine land, according to the New York Times.

The Interior Department’s decision approves the infrastruc­ture needed to produce and transport to market federal oil and gas resources in the Willow reservoir in northern Alaska.

“It’s disappoint­ing to see Secretary Haaland and President Biden approve the ‘Willow Project’ for ConocoPhil­lips,” Sen. Martin Heinrich, D-N.M., said in a statement. “The Western Arctic is one of the last great wild landscapes on the planet and as public land it belongs to every American. Industrial developmen­t in this unspoiled landscape will not age well.”

Rep. Melanie Stansbury, D-N.M., also pushed back on the decision, though she didn’t single out Biden or Haaland by name. Stansbury’s seat was previously held by Haaland, who left the post after being appointed to president Biden’s Cabinet.

“As the future of our planet hangs in the balance, I join millions — including Indigenous leaders, scientists, and lawmakers — in opposing the Willow Project and urging the Biden administra­tion to reconsider its approval of this project and its consequenc­es for global climate change and the communitie­s and ecosystems it will impact,” Stansbury said.

ConocoPhil­lips said on its website the Willow site is estimated to produce 180,000 barrels of oil per day at its peak, and that the project will create 2,500 constructi­on jobs, 300 permanent jobs and generate between $8 billion and $17 billion in new revenue for the federal government, the state of Alaska, the North Slope Borough, and nearby communitie­s.

 ?? ?? Sen. Martin Heinrich
Sen. Martin Heinrich
 ?? ?? Rep. Melanie Stansbury
Rep. Melanie Stansbury

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