The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

Climate President?
Biden Opens Alaska for Oil Extraction

Apr 3, 2023

On March 13, 2023, the Biden Administration approved the oil giant ConocoPhillips’ oil drilling project in Willow, Alaska. After constructing an airstrip and hundreds of miles of roads and pipelines, ConocoPhillips will produce up to 180,000 barrels of crude daily over 30 years, using at least 200 oil wells.

Willow, which belongs to the Federal Government, is located in the U.S.’s largest pristine natural reserve, in the northwest of Alaska on the coast of the Beaufort Sea. In August 2020, the Trump Administration initially approved ConocoPhillips’ Willow oil drilling project. But a U.S. court blocked this oil project, declaring that the environmental impact report was unsound.

The oil industry sees Alaska as one of the most promising regions in the U.S. for new oil, and a source of unprecedented profits. Because of this very powerful profit motive, ConocoPhillips’ Willow oil project will probably only be the first one, followed by many soon.

Last week, the Biden Administration also issued an executive order to open up a vast area of federal waters in the Gulf of Mexico. This area for oil drilling is about the same size as the country of Italy. Oil industry giants, including Chevron, BP, and ExxonMobil, would produce up to 1.1 billion barrels of oil and more than 4 trillion cubic feet of natural gas over 50 years, according to the Biden Administration. With so much gas and oil, these filthy rich people must be salivating!

This is very different from what Biden said when he campaigned for president. During his campaign he promised, “No more drilling on federal lands. Period. Period. Period. Period.” Sometimes Biden was even more precise: “No more drilling on federal lands. No more drilling, including offshore. No ability for the oil industry to continue to drill, period.”

All that was supposed to show how pro-environment Biden was, as opposed to the Republicans, who openly called for opening up more federal lands and waters for oil drilling. But the ConocoPhillips Willow and the Gulf of Mexico projects prove that Biden’s policies are no different from the Republicans when it comes to giving everything the oil companies want in order to extract more profits.