• Re: Biden expected to OK Alaska oil project - a blow to his green base

    From Joe the liar@21:1/5 to Molly Bolt on Mon Mar 13 09:24:43 2023
    XPost: talk.politics.guns, alt.fan.rush-limbaugh, sac.politics
    XPost: alt.culture.alaska

    In article <srvtkb$be1d$46@news.freedyn.de>
    Molly Bolt <mollythebolt666@gmail.com> wrote:

    He's probably lying just to milk some investor money.
    He does that, lies. A lot.

    President Joe Biden’s allies in the climate movement are bracing
    for their biggest setback from his administration as he moves
    closer to approving an Alaskan oil project that would pump as
    much carbon into the atmosphere as 60 coal-burning power plants.

    The administration is expected to approve ConocoPhillips’ plans
    to build its proposed Willow project on federal land in the
    Arctic tundra, according to three people at environmental groups
    who have talked to the White House and Interior Department in
    recent days about it. But there is no indication yet that Biden
    himself has signed off on it, and the administration appears to
    be still trying to decide how big the project would be, these
    people said.

    The White House insisted Friday and Saturday that the
    administration has made “no final decisions” about the project.
    But administration officials have touted the importance of oil
    production in recent months, and people outside the
    administration said they had been expecting the approval to be
    announced this past Friday.

    Biden pledged to halt new oil and gas development on federal
    land during his 2020 campaign, and he and Democrats in Congress
    passed landmark climate legislation last summer aimed at weaning
    huge swaths of the economy off of fossil fuels. But the surge in
    oil prices after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine forced the
    administration into an awkward embrace of the oil industry, as
    Biden countered Republican accusations that his policies were to
    blame for the skyrocketing price at the gas pump that was
    stoking inflation.

    Approving Willow would be just the latest shift by Biden toward
    the political center as he moves toward a potential reelection
    bid. He similarly dismayed liberals last week by saying he would
    not veto a GOP-led repeal of changes to D.C.’s criminal code.

    The White House defended Biden’s environmental record Saturday
    in comments to POLITICO, saying Biden’s policies have made the
    U.S. “a magnet for clean energy manufacturing and jobs” with
    policies that help the U.S. come closer to meeting climate
    goals. A White House official said that using oil and gas is
    still consistent with Biden’s near- and long-term emissions
    targets, which the official said the U.S. is on track to meet.

    “This approach has not changed — nor will it. Our climate goals
    are cutting emissions in half by 2030 and reaching net-zero by
    2050 — not 2023,” the official said. “That has always meant that
    oil will continue to be a part of the energy mix in the short-
    term while we shore up domestic clean energy production for the

    Environmental groups acknowledged Saturday that they were
    largely in the dark about the White House’s plans, but said they
    believed that the current discussions inside the administration
    were largely over whether to limit the number of drilling sites
    at the Willow project to two rather than three. Conoco had
    proposed building five well pads.

    “It sounds like different groups in the White House are still
    discussing” the potential size of the project, said one
    environmental advocate who had been in contact with the
    administration late Friday.

    “They told us they had nothing to offer” on the state of project
    deliberations, added the person, who was granted anonymity to
    describe internal White House deliberations.

    But if the reports of the approval are true, Biden’s shift to
    the center on oil would threaten to demoralize the climate
    activists he needs to support him in 2024, said Jamal Raad, co-
    founder and senior adviser of the group Evergreen Action.

    “It will be harder for us and climate activists to rally around
    this president come next year,” Raad said, explaining the action
    would detract from his many accomplishments, such as the $370
    billion in climate and clean energy incentives in the Inflation
    Reduction Act, while putting the onus on Biden to issue tougher
    environmental rules on cars and power plants.

    Conoco declined to comment until it hears a decision directly
    from the administration.

    Conoco Chief Executive Ryan Lance last week urged the
    administration to approve Willow, saying the project was in line
    with the Biden administration’s recent exhortations to the
    industry to increase oil production to help batten down prices.

    “This is exactly what this administration has been asking our
    industry to do over the last couple of years,” Lance told an
    energy conference in Houston.

    Regardless of the size, any plan would call for drilling oil and
    building miles of pipelines and roads, a gravel pit, an air
    strip and other infrastructure in the National Petroleum Reserve-
    Alaska, a 36,875-square-mile patch of federal land in the
    relatively undeveloped Arctic wilderness. It would produce as
    much as 600,000 barrels of oil over its three-decade lifetime.

    The project would also add nearly 280 million tons of greenhouse
    gas into the atmosphere over that period, according to the
    Interior Department’s environmental analysis. That would be the
    equivalent of adding two new coal-fired power plants to the U.S.
    electricity system every year, according to the Environmental
    Protection Agency’s emissions calculator.

    The National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska, originally set aside by
    the Harding administration for potential oil drilling in 1923,
    is outside the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, another swath of
    northern Alaska that Biden has declared off-limits for oil

    Environmentalists said they were still holding onto hope based
    on the administration’s denial that it made a final decision to
    OK the project, despite multiple news reports saying that an
    announcement of the approval would be made in the coming days.
    (Bloomberg News first reported Friday night that the
    administration had decided to greenlight it.)

    “Great! Then there is still time to turn this all around!!!”
    Natural Resources Defense Council spokesperson Anne Hawke posted
    on Twitter after White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre
    denied on Friday that a final decision had been made.

    Hawke also reached out to Swedish climate activist Greta
    Thunberg for help persuading Biden, tweeting at the young
    advocate: “In just days, the US will approve a massive oil
    project in Alaska. Can you help us tell US @POTUS to

    Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.), a longtime climate advocate, expressed
    dismay at the news.

    “We cannot allow the Willow Project to move forward,” he tweeted
    late Friday. “We must build a clean energy future — not return
    to a dark, fossil-fueled past.”

    An approval, if it comes, would infuriate environmental groups
    and continue a year-long strengthening of the administration’s
    relationship with the oil industry. But it would also come as
    market analysts are forecasting that oil prices will remain
    volatile for the next several years, which would make killing
    the project politically tricky.

    Biden himself has softened his rhetoric on transitioning the
    country away from fossil fuels, and he has repeatedly pressed
    the oil and gas industry to increase production in the short
    term to keep prices lower.

    “We are still going to need oil and gas for a while.” he said
    during his State of the Union speech last month.

    The Willow development is the rare large-scale oil project to be
    announced in recent years in the United States, where the
    industry has instead shifted its focus to drilling smaller,
    cheaper and faster projects using fracking to tap into shale
    fields in the Southwest. If approved, construction could start
    soon, and additional construction in Alaska’s North Slope for
    Willow will occur throughout the summer and fall, the company
    has said.

    Alaskan native tribes have expressed split opinions on the
    project, with some warning it would degrade their environment
    and others welcoming its potential economic gains.

    “The Willow Project is a new opportunity to ensure a viable
    future for our communities, creating generational economic
    stability for our people and advancing our self-determination,”
    said Nagruk Harcharek, president of the nonprofit Voice of
    Arctic Iñupiat, in a statement Saturday. “North Slope Iñupiat
    communities have waited nearly a generation for Willow to

    Yet that urgency to develop the project, and the signals from
    the White House, were disheartening to environmental groups.

    “To us, it all sucks because it flies in the face of meeting our
    climate goals. So we’re going to keep fighting until there is a
    final record of decision,” said Tiernan Sittenfeld, senior vice
    president of government affairs with the League of Conservation

    Some of Biden’s green allies suggested the move could have
    repercussions for Democrats in 2024. Along with the long-debated
    Keystone XL pipeline from Canada, which Biden effectively killed
    in one of his first acts as president, Willow has joined the
    ranks of fossil fuel projects that in earlier decades would have
    flown under radar but have now taken on outsized political

    The Biden administration is caught in the middle, hyping the
    Inflation Reduction Act it signed into law as the biggest
    climate-related legislation ever but also asking companies to
    keep pumping barrels to keep fuel prices low in the here-and-
    now. That law has also won praise from the oil and gas sector
    for its incentives for carbon capture and storage and clean
    hydrogen – technologies the fossil fuel producers are pursuing.

    Raad, from Evergreen Action, said the Willow project “was
    something that really took the internet and social media by
    storm the last few weeks – because it is a physical thing and a
    physical place that feels real.” And that has implications for
    Biden’s hopes for reelection, he added.

    “There’s just no escaping the fact that we’re going to need to
    rally young folks and folks interested in climate next year to
    win,” Raad said. “And this does not help in any shape or form.”

    As of March 2, environmental advocates were citing 9,000 videos
    protesting Willow on the social media platform TikTok. Former
    Vice President Al Gore earlier this week weighed in to say it
    would be “recklessly irresponsible” to approve Willow.

    Deirdre Shelly, campaigns director with the youth environmental
    group Sunrise Movement, said her organization is already
    strategizing for the next election and that approving Willow
    would make organizers’ jobs more difficult.

    “This is just a huge disappointment. … It does feel like an
    about-face,” she said. “It makes it even harder for us to
    convince young people that they need to vote, that the
    Democratic Party leaders will act on climate.”

    But the administration also felt heavy pressure from the oil
    industry and the state’s politically powerful Republican Sen.
    Lisa Murkowski. Murkowski has long championed Willow as a needed
    boost to the Alaskan economy, which has been troubled for years
    as the overall oil industry has picked up stakes to move to the
    cheaper opportunities in the Lower 48.

    Oil and gas companies and energy-state lawmakers would have been
    ready to blame the rejection of Willow for any subsequent rise
    in energy costs, even though the Biden Interior Department has
    approved new permits to drill on public land at a faster rate
    than his predecessors.

    Murkowski, speaking Friday in Houston before the announcement,
    said she had met with the White House last week to warn that the
    administration was legally bound to approve the project, given
    that Conoco held oil leases on federal land.

    “The fact of the matter is these are valid existing leases that
    Conoco holds,” Murkowski told reporters. “If the administration
    [had] basically not allowed them to be able to access those
    leases, what follows then? … Alaska litigation is always
    something that we have to reckon with.”

    <https://www.politico.com/news/2023/03/11/joe-biden-climate- alaska-willow-oil-00086659>

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