On January 10, Alaska Wilderness League led environmental, Indigenous, and climate activists at a rally outside the White House calling on the Biden Administration to reject the proposed Willow oil development in Alaska’s western Arctic.
Dozens of protesters gathered with signs, banners and chants to take climate action now and stop Willow. In addition to the demonstration, participating organizations have collectively delivered more than 120,000 comments of concern to the White House from people around the country opposed to the Willow development.
Currently under review by President Biden, the massive Willow oil and gas project would emit 287 million metric tons of carbon pollution, bulldoze through critical wildlife habitats in the nearby town of Nuiqsut, disrupt migratory paths of caribou and many other species and endanger the food security of communities that depend on subsistence resources.
“This is a make-or-break moment for President Biden on climate,” Kristen Miller, executive director of the Alaska Wilderness League, said in a press release. “Willow poses a clear and present danger to climate security and biodiversity resources and will impact all Americans. Alaska’s Arctic cannot afford to sacrifice the critical wildlife and subsistence resources – or to bear the risk to our climate that Willow would cause. The President can show true climate leadership by stopping Willow before it’s too late.”
“Because of the location and the nearness to Teshekpuk Lake and the nearness to the ocean, this will affect the caribou and their migration around the lake,” said Nuiqsut Mayor Rosemary Ahtuangaruak.
Rosemary Ahtuangaruak, Mayor of Nuiqsut, speaking to a reporter
“Today’s rally is a demonstration of the hundreds of thousands of people from across the country that have spoken out against Willow over the last few months,” said Monica Scherer, director of outreach, at the rally. “We are seeing new organizations and individuals join the effort to stop Willow every day, and we will continue building on the momentum from today to assure the Willow project does not move forward.”
“The Willow project would be built on my traditional homelands of the Iñupiat in the Arctic,” said Sonia Ahkivgak, social outreach coordinator at Sovereign Iñupiat for a Living Arctic (SILA). “We’re far too along in the climate crisis to continue investing in fossil fuel infrastructure, especially one that would lock us into extraction for another 30 years.”
Alaska Wilderness League will continue to work with our partners in Alaska and around the country to ensure a thriving Arctic for generations to come.
- One minute video: An explainer of ConocoPhillips’ Willow drilling project
- A ‘carbon bomb’ or desperately needed energy? Alaskan village holds key to Biden’s climate policy.
- Don’t make Indigenous people pay Willow’s price