Ed Markey Rages at Biden over ‘Disastrous Decision’ to Approve Oil Drilling Project

WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 08: U.S. Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) speaks during an event in front o
Alex Wong/Getty Images

Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) issued a scathing rebuke Monday of President Joe Biden’s administration after it approved a scaled-down version of an oil drilling project in a petroleum-rich region of northern Alaska.

Markey, a climate hawk and cosponsor of the failed Green New Deal, called the administration’s approval of ConocoPhillips’ Willow Project, a multibillion-dollar oil drilling endeavor in the federal North Petroleum Reserve in Alaska, a “disastrous decision.”

The move is an “environmental injustice,” Markey said, despite the Biden administration not only approving a limited version of the project that would allow for drilling in three, rather than five, drill site pads but also announcing new restrictions on future drilling in the Last Frontier.

“By investing in the fossil-fueled past and not the green-energy future, we are failing frontline environmental justice communities who are bearing the brunt of climate chaos, and American consumers who remain at the whim of rising and volatile prices of oil and gas,” Markey said.

Markey was joined by a number of environmental activist groups, such as the Sunrise Movement, the Sierra Club, and Greenpeace, which condemned the Willow Project as a “carbon bomb.”

“I am in solidarity with the community of advocates who oppose this disastrous decision and will continue fighting alongside them to put our people and our planet ahead of the profits of Big Oil,” Markey said.

ConocoPhillips estimates that its project’s oil production, which is set to begin toward the end of this decade, will have a peak of 180,000 barrels per day and deliver up to $17 billion in new revenue to the federal government, Alaska, and the state’s North Slope region, which is the site of the project.

The Associated Press

This 2019 aerial photo provided by ConocoPhillips shows an exploratory drilling camp at the proposed site of the Willow oil project on Alaska’s North Slope. (ConocoPhillips via AP, File)

The bipartisan Alaska congressional delegation appeared overall pleased with the administration’s project approval even with the apparent concessions the Biden administration made in response to opposing environmental groups.

Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-AK) called the project “critically important for Alaska’s economy, good-paying jobs for our families, and the future prosperity” of Alaska but acknowledged that the “fight” with the administration over American energy production is “far from over.”

Gov. Mike Dunleavy (R) welcomed the administration’s decision Monday but had stern words for the White House because the project, which had already been reduced in scope by about 40 percent, was approved in conjunction with the likely ban of future gas and oil production on what he said would amount to nearly 16 million acres of oil-rich federal land in his state.

“Taking future oil production in Alaska off the map won’t decrease global oil consumption,” Dunleavy said. “It will just shift the market and give leverage to producers in countries that don’t have our high standards for the environment and human rights.”

He added, “It’s disgraceful that the Biden administration thinks that this is a compromise that will benefit America.”

Other Republicans also conveyed their disapproval of the administration, including Rep. Ryan Zinke (R-MT), former Trump administration secretary of the interior, who said in a statement that approving a scaled-down project was a “kick in the pants.”

“By only approving three [pads], Biden is doing the absolute bare minimum while still promising regulatory harassment,” Zinke said.

Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX), whose home state is host to a portion of the nation’s Strategic Petroleum Reserves, said during an interview with Fox News’s Harris Faulkner that Biden “wants to throw out crumbs with a bit of production” after dumping “200 million barrels out of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve last year because he had to react to his own failed policies.”

Referencing those like Markey, Roy added, “Now the radical left is totally incensed that he’s going to open up two or three pads out of five in one part in Alaska as some sort of give to the fact that the American people want us to actually produce American oil and gas.”

Write to Ashley Oliver at aoliver@breitbart.com. Follow her on Twitter at @asholiver.


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