The Willow Project's Benefits to Alaska and U.S. Economies
by Jack Greene
On March 13, 2023, the Biden administration approved the Willow Project. The Willow Project is an oil drilling project that will be located on the North Slope of Alaska in the National Petroleum Reserve. This project will be capable of producing 200,000 barrels of oil per day and produce anywhere between 8-17 billion dollars in revenue over its 30-year life. While the Willow Project does have environmental implications, it’s important for lawmakers to take into consideration the economical benefits.
Oil is one of the most used and sought after products in the world. With uses from vehicles, heating, and producing electricity, the world couldn’t run without it. Oil has become one of the most widely traded goods between countries across the globe, projecting to provide $1.6 trillion in federal and state tax revenue from 2015-2025.
Since the Biden administration signed this project there has been growing scrutiny among climate activist. The project will cover close to 500 acres of land and will produce close to 287 million tons of carbon dioxide over the 30-year life. Such scrutiny has covered up the potential benefits of this project.
The United States economy is in an unprecedented time as we recover from the near $16 trillion spent on covid, unemployment, and sky rocketing prices. These issues have been felt across the country, especially in Alaska. In the state of Alaska more than one-third of all jobs are directly related to oil and drilling. The project will have a tremendously great impact on natives of Alaska as they hope to return to work.
Currently in Alaska there are 14,000 unemployed people. This project will help employ more than 2,500 workers through construction and drilling related jobs. This will directly have a positive impact on both local, state, and federal governments. Willow will generate $1.3 billion in state tax revenue for Alaska, that will go to help fund vital programs for the state. It’s vital that our lawmakers in Alaska, and across the country urge one another to take these ideas into consideration.
As I stated before, this project has the capability of producing close to 200,000 barrels of oil a day. This is oil that can be used and traded across the country and to countries. The U.S continues to be one of the top oil exporters to countries like Mexico, Canada, and China racking in over $50 billion in 2020. Willow will help the U.S stay dominate throughout worldwide trade markets.
While the environmental longevity and health of the country is of upmost importance, in this scenario the potential economic benefits out way the cost on the environment.
Lawmakers must market this project for the potential revenue and trade implications that it will have for the country and state of Alaska. If projects like Willow don’t receive the support they need from organizations and lawmakers, it will deprive Alaskans of opportunities to continue and maintain a secure economy for themselves and the future.