Controversial Willow Project poses threat to Alaska’s ecosystem


Graphic by Isabella Kneeshaw.

Lucy Lyons, Opinion Editor

The Willow Project – a controversial initiative aimed at increasing oil drilling in Alaska – has been a topic of heated debate. This project, approved by the Biden Administration on March 13, will allow oil drilling on Alaska’s North Slope in order to harvest almost 600 million barrels of oil. 

While some claim that it will create jobs and boost the economy, environmentalists warn of its potentially catastrophic consequences. With rising sea levels and increasing temperatures, the world is already grappling with the effects of climate change. The Willow Project could worsen this problem by increasing greenhouse gas emissions and damaging the fragile ecosystem of Alaska. This initiative has attracted large amounts of attention due to its heavy impact on the environment and potentially our future. To learn more, The Wolf spoke with Tualatin chemistry teacher Ronnie White, who is well-versed in environmental issues.

“I don’t like the idea of adding new fossil fuel sources that will ultimately contribute to climate change,” White said. “We have the technology to really move away from fossil fuels, and it’s time to make that switch.”

The Willow Project poses a significant threat to the environment and wildlife in Alaska. The oil drilling process requires the use of heavy machinery and drilling rigs, which can damage the delicate ecosystem and disturb the habitats of various local species. This can lead to a decline in the population of plants and animals that are crucial to the balance of the ecosystem.

So what else can we do? 

It might be too late at this point,” he said. “Greed and power win out most of the time. We can speak out and protest all we want, but until we stop using fossil fuels so extensively, oil drilling operations will continue to thrive. People have to speak with their actions more than with TikTok videos and letters to the president. That said, make the videos and send the letters. Be heard! Then make small changes to offset your carbon footprint.”

Oil drilling in Alaska has been a controversial issue for many years. Some people argue that it’s important to drill for oil because it creates jobs and helps the economy. Others argue that it’s harmful to the environment because it can harm animals and plants that live in that area. Overall though, White knows that this project will have a harmful impact. 

“It’s another loss for the climate. It’s a loss for another ecosystem. It’s a loss for many of the native people in the area. It’s a win for the oil company, and it will likely bring jobs to the region. I think it’s an investment in the wrong thing, though.