This week the Biden administration unexpectedly granted re-approval to an 807-mile natural gas pipeline project in Alaska called Alaska LNG that’s slated to be used to export liquefied natural gas to countries mainly in Asia.
“The project involves constructing an 807-mile pipeline that would bisect the state from north to south, spanning a distance roughly the width of Texas. … ‘Stranded’ gas deposits discovered decades ago in Alaska’s Arctic … would first be extracted and sent to gas treatment facilities operated by AGDC in the Arctic,” according to EarthJustice, an environmental group that opposes the project.
“The gas would then be transported 807 miles south to the Kenai Peninsula via the new pipeline, which would require 489 new roads to construct and maintain. AGDC would also build a liquefaction plant and marine terminal on the eastern shore of the Cook Inlet in Nikiski. The LNG would be transported to Asian markets via Cook Inlet, a sensitive water body that offers critical habitat for endangered beluga whales,” the group explained.
The administration’s decision to re-approve the pipeline, which was originally approved under the Trump administration, prompted swift outrage.
There is no easy way to talk about this but today Joe Biden approved a $38,700,000,000 gas project in Alaska.
This includes 807 miles of pipeline, a gas treatment plant, a liquefaction facility, & a LNG terminal that would process 20,000,000 metric tons of gas per year. (1/9)
— Climate Defiance (@ClimateDefiance) April 14, 2023
“Joe Biden’s climate presidency is flying off the rails,” Lukas Ross of Friends of the Earth said, according to The Guardian, adding that this was the second approval of a “fossil-fuel mega-project” in just a few months.
“The Biden administration last month approved the ConocoPhillips $7bn Willow oil and gas drilling project on Alaska’s North Slope,” The Guardian notes.
“Right after the horrific Willow decision, it’s painful to see Biden officials greenlight an even bigger fossil fuel project that will destroy Arctic habitat and feed the climate crisis,” Liz Jones, an attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity, said in a statement.
“This project will send billions of cubic feet of gas a day across Alaska and through waters teeming with wildlife, all to be burned up on foreign shores into our overheating atmosphere. The Alaska LNG project should never have been approved,” she continued.
“The proposed Alaska LNG export project would threaten Arctic wildlife and exacerbate the climate crisis by locking in decades of increased gas extraction and exports at a time when the science is clear that we must rapidly transition away from fossil fuels,” Andrea Feniger, the director of Sierra Club’s Alaska chapter, added, according to Fox News.
“Claiming that a project like this could possibly be in the public interest isn’t just out of step with the Biden administration’s stated commitment to climate action — it’s out of step with reality. We will pursue every available avenue to ensure that this ill-advised project is never built.”
BREAKING: @ENERGY approved exports for the Alaska LNG project. It consists of a pipeline, gas treatment plant, liquefaction facilities, & LNG terminal capable of exporting 20 million metric tons of gas per year. Most of which would go to Asia. All of which will harm our planet. pic.twitter.com/dFFOGQIxUs
— Earthjustice (@Earthjustice) April 14, 2023
The question, of course, is why on Earth would this radically far-left administration approve the construction of a pipeline, let alone in the face of so much backlash from its allies.
The answer appears to be competing interests. Namely, the interests of native communities who live in Alaska.
According to PBS News, supporters of the pipeline say it “represents an economic lifeline for Indigenous communities in the region.”
Said communities agree.
“There … is ‘majority consensus’ in support in the North Slope region, said Nagruk Harcharek, president of the group Voice of the Arctic Iñupiat, whose members include leaders from across much of that region. Supporters have called the project balanced and say communities would benefit from taxes generated by Willow to invest in infrastructure and provide public services,” PBS notes.
So it appears to be an “Oppression Olympics” battle between oppressed environmentalists and oppressed indigenous communities — and evidently, the indigenous communities have won this round.
It’s a microcosm of a wider battle playing out across the globe between environmental zealots who want to roll society back to the Middles Ages, and impoverished nations that are desperate for the cheap, reliable fossil fuels needed to grow their communities.
“This is a significant step toward getting more jobs for our families and a boost toward getting the Alaska LNG pipeline project built. The approval proves that the Biden Administration finally acknowledges the key role fossil fuels play in our energy future,” Rick Whitbeck, the Alaska state director of Power The Future, a pro-energy group, said to Fox News.
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