A few months back, President Joe Biden approved the controversial Wllow project, much to both the anger and delight of Alaskans. While environmentalists and opponents of the project have argued that the project cannot be built due to the possible dangers, it is the unfortunate truth that the project is necessary in order to save the state from economic disaster.
Alaska is an extraction-based economy addicted to the drug of oil. While opponents of the oil industry argue that Alaska could make revenue through other means, they offer no real reasonable solutions on how we could transition away from oil and extraction as a whole. They advocate for the cancellation of projects such as the Willow project while also advocating for increased spending on things like education, health care, and infrastructure. Where, I ask, would we get these funds while we run a $1 billion deficit? For now, the only way to raise this revenue is from oil, the backbone of our state. The Willow project is projected to bring the state billions in revenue, alleviating our crisis (State of Alaska, Department of Revenue 4.10.23 Willow Project Fiscal Analysis).
This, however, is a solution that is temporary but necessary to avoid disaster. Opponents of Willow say we need to restructure our economy away from extraction, and this is true, but we need to construct the Willow project in order to do this. We need fiscal security before we even consider making drastic changes to our economy. The Willow project, albeit temporarily, will bring that fiscal security and breathing room the state needs in order to consider a transition away from extraction.
— Cash Arrington
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