Willow Backgrounder

America’s Western Arctic represents one of the most important fronts in the fight against climate change. Also known as the National Petroleum Reserve—Alaska, this 23-million-acre expanse of intact public lands is home to wildlife and Indigenous communities who have lived in the region since time immemorial. It’s also under dire threat from fossil fuel development as ConocoPhillips seeks final approval from the Biden administration for its disastrous Willow oil project – a proposal that would lock in decades of fossil fuel extraction and desecrate a massive swath of the pristine Western Arctic. Read more here.

If Willow is Approved, Nuiqsut Community Will Be Completely Engulfed by Oil and Gas Development

The maps below show how the Willow project would completely encircle the Indigenous community of Nuiqsut with oil and gas development.

Dr. Rosemary Ahtuangaruak, Mayor of Nuiqsuit, Testimony To U.S. House Natural Resources Committee

Take a deeper dive into how Willow would threaten local Indigenous communities and public health by checking out Congressional testimony from Dr. Rosemary Ahtuangaruak, who is the Mayor of Nuiqsuit, the closest community to the proposed Willow project.

EPA Warns of Significant Climate and Environmental Justice Impacts

In a letter submitted to the Department of the Interior, the Environmental Protection Agency called out the significant environmental justice and climate impacts Willow would have. The EPA also called some of the climate impact calculations presented in the Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact (DSEIS) “misleading.”

161 Businesses and Organizations Urge Department Of Interior To Decline To Approve Willow

161 businesses and organizations from across the country sent a letter to Secretary of Interior Deb Haaland urging the administration to deny approval for ConocoPhillips’ massive oil and gas project located in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska.

You can read the letter HERE

House Committee on Natural Resources Urge Secretary Haaland to Extend Public Comment Period for the Willow Project

Members of the U.S. House Committee on Natural Resources sent a letter urging Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland to extend the public comment period for the Willow project due to conflicts with the Alaska Native subsistence harvest season on the North Slope. 

For more, read the letter from top Members of the U.S. House Committee on Natural Resources.

Conservation and Climate Organizations Send Letter to Sec. Deb Haaland Urging DOI To Slow Down Willow Approval Process

Learn more about key issues identified by the Environmental Protection Agency in the BLM’s supplemental environmental impact statement for the Willow project by reading the EPA’s comment letter. The letter also outlines the EPA’s concerns regarding Willow’s impacts on local communities, environmental justice, Indigenous rights, and the environment.

Communities Most Affected by Willow Send Letter to Interior Sec. Deb Haaland Urging to Extend Public Comment Period

Check out letters from the City of Nuiqsut, the closest community to the proposed Willow project, and the Native Village of Nuiqsut, a federally recognized tribe, urging the Secretary of the Interior to extend the public comment due to conflicts with subsistence hunting activities.

The Impact of Toxics on Indigenous Peoples – Mandate of the Special Rapporteur On Toxics and Human Rights

Read Rosemary Ahtuangaruak, Mayor of Nuiqsut, a traditional Iñupiat village of 500 people located near the Beaufort Sea coast on Alaska’s North Slope, toxicology comments to the UN Human Right Office Special Rapporteur on toxics and human rights HERE.