Press Release

NDN Collective Slams Biden Greenlighting Willow Oil Project

For Immediate Release: March 13, 2023

Rapid City, SD – Today, President Biden approved ConocoPhillips’ proposed Willow oil drilling project, giving the greenlight to the development of hundreds of oil wells, 400 miles of roads and pipelines, and unquantifiable noise and pollution for people and ecosystems in the area. Biden chose to approve the project that will emit the same amount of carbon as 76 coal-fired power plants, despite months of advocacy by Indigenous communities and climate justice activists – a move that flies in the face of U.S. climate goals. 

Last year, a gas leak started at one of ConocoPhillips’ pre-existing facilities, eight miles north of the Alaska Native Village of Nuiqsut. 

In response to the decision, NDN Collective released the following statements: 

“The Biden administration’s decision to greenlight the Willow project is a climate disaster in the making,” said Jade Begay, Director of policy and advocacy at NDN Collective. “Today’s decision completely contradicts not only the administration’s climate goals, but also its commitment to consider Traditional Ecological Knowledge in federal policy making. The Native Village of Nuiqsut has repeatedly voiced their concerns around how the project will impact local ecosystems – including caribou, which they rely on for subsistence. This immoral decision will have devastating impacts on the livelihood of the people of Nuiqsut and beyond.” 

ICYMI: Last week, Jade wrote an op-ed for ICT urging Biden to keep true to the U.S. climate goals by shutting the Willow oil project down. 

“The Biden Administration and ConocoPhillips can expect our continued protest of the Willow Project,” said Nick Tilsen, President and CEO of NDN Collective. “Indigenous communities like Nuiqsut, who are experiencing the first and worst of climate change, need everyone to be vocal in their opposition to greedy oil executives coming in and destroying their land and livelihood. We will continue to demand LANDBACK as the ultimate solution to the climate crisis, so that Indigenous people have a real say about what happens on our soil.” 

NDN Collective is an Indigenous-led organization dedicated to building Indigenous power. Through organizing, activism, philanthropy, grantmaking, capacity-building, and narrative change, we are creating sustainable solutions on Indigenous terms.

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