For Immediate Release
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Rep. Jamaal Bowman Ed.D. (NY-16), Energy and Mineral Resources Subcommittee Ranking Member Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY-14), and Rep. Jared Huffman (CA-2) today sent a letter, joined by 30 other members of Congress, to U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) Secretary Deb Haaland urging the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to suspend the Right of Way permit and reject future permits for ConocoPhillips’ widely opposed Willow project in Alaska.
Read the full letter here.
Last month, the Biden administration issued a final Record of Decision to approve the Willow project despite fierce opposition from millions of people all over the globe, especially young people. Opponents’ criticisms of the massive 30-year oil and gas drilling project included its detrimental impacts to our climate goals, the urgent concerns of nearby tribes and local communities, and ConocoPhillips’ previously reported failure to maintain safe operations in the region.
In their letter, the lawmakers point out that—according to a lawsuit filed by tribal and environmental organizations—BLM has failed to fulfill its mandate to conduct a comprehensive assessment of the Willow project’s impacts and consider the input of all stakeholders. By doing so, the agency has “violated the National Environmental Policy Act, the Endangered Species Act, the Naval Petroleum Reserves Production Act (NPRPA), the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act, and Administrative Procedures Act.”
The letter also highlights BLM’s broad authority under the NPRPA to “suspend operations and production ‘in the interest of conservation of natural resources’ or to mitigate ‘reasonably foreseeable and significantly adverse effects on surface resources.’”
The lawmakers continue by detailing the many threats posed by the Willow project and concluding that, “Given the permanent damage ConocoPhillips’ preliminary construction efforts will inflict on the surrounding ecosystem and community, necessary steps must be taken to mitigate harm as it undergoes comprehensive review. Suspending the Right of Way Permit, rejecting future filings by ConocoPhillips for an [Application for Permit to Drill] permit or other action toward development in the [Alaska National Petroleum Reserve (NPR-A)] until DOI completes a comprehensive assessment of the implications of future oil from the NPR-A would ensure we take the right steps for our future and grant all stakeholders the chance to be heard.”
The full list of signers include Reps. Jamaal Bowman Ed.D., Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Jared Huffman, Raúl M. Grijalva, Jan Schakowsky, Mike Levin, Nydia Velázquez, Nanette Diaz Barragán, Jerrold Nadler, Emanuel Cleaver, II, Barbara Lee, Eleanor Holmes Norton, Adriano Espaillat, Rashida Tlaib, Cori Bush, Katie Porter, Sydney Kamlager Dove, Jill Tokuda, Maxwell Alejandro Frost, Danny K. Davis, Lloyd Doggett, Yvette D. Clarke, Jimmy Gomez, Suzanne Bonamici, Diana DeGette, James P. McGovern, Summer Lee, Earl Blumenauer, Sara Jacobs, Jamie Raskin, Mark DeSaulnier, Paul D. Tonko, and Steve Cohen.