WASHINGTON D.C.: Despite a last-minute campaign from opponents, the US Department of Interior said that the Biden administration will approve a scaled-back version of a $7 billion oil and gas drilling project in Alaska known as "Willow" and proposed by ConocoPhillips.
The project will create hundreds of jobs and bring billions of dollars in revenue to the state and country, said elected officials from Alaska, which relies heavily on oil revenue, despite output declining heavily from its peak in the 1980s.
On a call with reporters, US Representative Mary Peltola, a Democrat from Alaska, said, "I feel the people of Alaska have been heard. The state of Alaska cannot carry the burden of solving our global warming issues alone."
The United Nations, which has urged countries to transition away from fossil fuels, criticized the decision.
UN spokesperson Stephane Dujarric told reporters, "These are not projects that move us in the right direction."
Environmental groups also criticized the Biden administration's decision, stressing it was trying to have it "both ways" regarding climate change.
Environmental groups have said they would challenge the project in court.
Having already endorsed the smaller version of the project, Houston-based ConocoPhillips lauded the US decision.
In a statement, ConocoPhillips Chief Executive Ryan Lance said, "This was the right decision for Alaska and our nation."
Meanwhile, US Senator Lisa Murkowski, an Alaska Republican, welcomed the "good news," stating "this will mean jobs and revenue for Alaska," by pumping upwards of 180,000 barrels of oil per day into the Trans Alaska Pipeline.