The Future of the Economy With the Willow Project Approved

By: Genevieve Rippeon

On Monday, March 13, President Biden approved the Willow Project. Created by ConocoPhillips, the Willow Project is an oil-drilling exploration. According to the project’s website, the project is “important for Alaska’s economy and for America’s energy security.” 

Also, according to the website, Willow could generate between $8 and $17 million dollars for the U.S. economy and is projected to create as many as 2,500 jobs for Americans. 

These two factors, the economy, and environment, created a debate on whether the project should be passed or not. 

“The economy is definitely a driving force for the Willow Project to be passed because first of all producing domestically is a lot better for our economy, it gives people jobs in the short run and would lower the price of gas for our [U.S.] consumers,” said Mt. Hebron junior Sophia Kreyling. 

On the other hand, the negative environmental effects may outweigh the boom for the economy that Willow would provide. 

“I do see how the economic factor of the Willow Project is important because it will create a lot of jobs, however, I think a healthy environment and Earth is more important right now,” said Mt. Hebron sophomore Colin Parkinson. 

The negative impact Parkinson is referring to is the release of greenhouse gasses through the oil drilling Willow would pursue. 

The Willow Project is estimated to release 250 metric tons of carbon dioxide. Carbon Dioxide is the primary greenhouse gas emission, and when released, reside in the Earth’s atmosphere and trap heat.  This trapping of heat is what is known as the “Greenhouse Effect.” 

“Carbon emissions contribute to the greenhouse effect which causes the global temperature to rise. This can cause climate change, as well as more substantial natural disasters,” said Parkinson. 

Greenhouse gases contribute to climate change, which has been a long-standing environmental issue. Prolonged climate change could cause more frequent wildfires, longer periods of drought, and more intense tropical storms. 

 In 2022, Hurricane Ian caused devastation to Florida, Cuba, Columbia, and regions up and down the East Coast. Ian was estimated to have caused $113.1 billion in damage. 

More intense storms like Ian could stem from climate change and the trapping of greenhouse gasses from a surplus of carbon dioxide emissions from Willow. These storms have the potential to negatively impact not only the U.S. economy but various economies from around the world. 

The Willow Project, now approved, may pose a threat to the stability of the future of not only the U.S. but the whole world. 

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