Oil Firms’ Arctic Drilling Insanity

August 22nd, 2022 - by Dan Ritzman / Sierra Club

Oil Companies Propose Re-freezing the
Arctic’s Melting Ice to Drill for Oil

Dan Ritzman / Sierra Club

(August 19, 2022) — You can’t make this up:
Because of how quickly the Arctic is warming, Big Oil has announced that its new proposed Willow project will need to install “chillers” to refreeze the melting permafrost in order to drill. 

So, yeah: Drilling creates a problem that makes more drilling impossible so, they do it anyway making more drilling even more impossible and…are you following this? Because it’s completely sociopathic.

Instead of taking this as a disturbing sign that we’ve crossed a dangerous threshold, fossil fuel companies want to double down on their profiteering.

If we don’t stop them, Big Oil’s Willow project would unleash 260 million metric tons of carbon dioxide — the same climate-busting pollution of nearly ONE-THIRD of US coal power plants.

We need your help to ice this climate-trashing project and all efforts to exploit our public lands and harm communities by mobilizing thousands of ordinary people to pressure Congress, the administration, and local governments to reject new drilling in the Arctic, protect public land and combat climate change.

As if we haven’t already reached a pivotal moment for our planet, earlier this month, climate researchers released new devastating findings:
Arctic warming is happening four to SEVEN times faster than the global average, up from the two to three times previously believed.
Wildfires in the Arctic now rage farther north and longer than ever before.
And scientists warn we’re closing in on a perilous tipping point, where sea ice completely disappears in the summer and temperatures rise even faster.

In response to this five-alarm crisis, Conoco-Phillips’ new Willow project would lock in 160,000 barrels of oil a day for the next THIRTY YEARS. 

But Willow is not just a climate disaster. The drilling site is near the Alaska Native village of Nuiqsut, where residents worry that oil flares at night, fumes, and pollution all will contribute to respiratory illness and other sicknesses. They’re right to worry — these are real dangers, and climate change has already decimated much of their way of life.

And, of course, iconic Arctic wildlife like caribou, migratory birds, and polar bears would lose vital habitat and face even more risks to their very survival.

It does not get worse than this. And if we’re to have any chance of stopping the Willow project and working to heal the planet, we need to dramatically scale up our campaign against Big Oil and their lackeys in Congress.

Do you know why I’m so confident your support will help stop Big Oil’s mad crusade? Because it’s that same kind of support that’s been central to Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal campaign. Within a few short decades, that campaign has stopped the construction of 170 new coal-fired power plants and helped move even more into planned retirement.

Our planet and our future cannot afford Willow.

A Looming Threat: Wars for Oil in the Arctic

Dan Ritzman is the Director of the Sierra Club’s Lands Water Wildlife Campaign.

Posted in accordance with Title 17, Section 107, US Code, for noncommercial, educational purposes.