Extreme Temperature Diary- Saturday March 4th, 2023/ Main Topic: Democrats to Biden: ‘Reject Willow Now and Protect the Arctic’

The main purpose of this ongoing blog will be to track global extreme or record temperatures related to climate change. Any reports I see of ETs will be listed below the main topic of the day. I’ll refer to extreme or record temperatures as ETs (not extraterrestrials).😉

Main Topic: Democrats to Biden: ‘Reject Willow Now and Protect the Arctic’

Dear Diary. Ever since a major oil discovery in Alaska on the Kenai Peninsula in 1957 environmentalists have struggled to keep that substance in the ground. There has been too much corrupting money involved to prevent drilling, culminating in an extensive pipeline being built in 1977 that bisects the state. The crude oil pipeline is privately owned by the Alyeska Pipeline Service Company. The pipeline was built between 1975 and 1977, after the 1973 oil crisis caused a sharp rise in oil prices in the United States. This rise made exploration of the Prudhoe Bay oil field economically feasible. Of course, us older folks remember the Exxon Valdez oil spill from 1989 that caused horrendous destruction. On March 24, 1989, shortly after midnight, the oil tanker Exxon Valdez struck Bligh Reef in Prince William Sound, Alaska, spilling more than 11 million gallons of crude oil. After that date environmentalists had a little more success preventing potential Alaskan oil fields from being explored and drilled.

Fast forward to 2023, and we have the first President that is responsible for billions of dollars to be invested in protected our climate through his Inflation Reduction Act. Joe Biden knows that we should keep oil in the ground at every opportunity, so why is he going to allow drilling at Alaska’s Willow area? I smell a rat. We will follow this story as it plays out during this year. Here are more details from Common Dreams:

Democrats to Biden: ‘Reject Willow Now and Protect the Arctic’ (commondreams.org)

President Joe Biden participates in a International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) phone banking event on December 2nd, 2022 in Boston, Massachusetts for Senator Reverend Raphael Warnockâs (D-GA) re-election campaign. 

(Photo by Nathan Posner/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Democrats to Biden: ‘Reject Willow Now and Protect the Arctic’

“It would be a victory for Big Oil and a huge step backwards on climate,” warned Rep. Ro Khanna, who co-signed the letter.


Mar 04, 2023

Nearly two dozen Democratic lawmakers from the U.S. Senate and House—as well as independent Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont—have written to President Joe Biden imploring him to put the last nail in the coffin of an “ill-conceived and misguided” oil and gas drilling project in Alaska that experts say would destroy the president’s climate legacy if approved in any form.

Led by Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.), ranking member of the House Natural Resources Committee, and Sen. Ed Markey(D-Mass.), Chair of the Senate Environment and Public Works Subcommittee on Clean Air, Climate, and Nuclear Safety, the letter urges Biden and Interior Secretary Deb Haaland to reject final approval of the 30-year ConocoPhillips’ Willow Project in Alaska’s National Petroleum Reserve.

“No version of the Willow [Master Development Plan (MDP)] is consistent with your commitments to combat the climate crisis and promote environmental justice, especially as reflected in the Inflation Reduction Act, historic legislation on which we all collaborated to achieve these crucial goals,” the letter states.

“If allowed to proceed,” the lawmakers argue, the Willow project “would pose a significant threat to U.S. progress on climate issues,” citing estimates that the project could unleash upwards of $19.8 billion in climate-related damages.

The letter comes days after White House officials floated the possibility of a scaled-back Willow Project, but environmentalists have said, as Common Dreams reported Wednesday, that “no form of this project is OK.”

The Burea of Land Management has estimated that even a scaled-back version would emit around 9.2 million metric tons of carbon dioxide each year and Earthjustice, which has fought Willow in court, has warned that the approval request now before the Interior Department “would bring at least 219 wells, 267 miles of pipelines, and 30 miles of roads to a vast public lands area in Alaska’s Western Arctic, permanently altering a globally significant and ecologically rich landscape.”

In their letter, the lawmakers tell Biden and Haaland that the only course of action should be “no action,” following the release of the final supplemental environmental impact statement (SEIS) on the project earlier this year. According to the letter:

The final SEIS includes a preferred alternative that would defer one drill site and require additional analysis for another, but we fear that the Willow MDP is intended to serve as an infrastructure hub that anchors a decades-long push towards increased drilling in the Western Arctic. Climate damage is unlikely to stop with the first phase of the Willow project; your Administration needs to draw the line now.

In a separate letter on Friday, the grassroots advocacy group Progressive Democrats of America also urged Biden to recognize the historic and legacy-building opportunity in rejecting the Willow project completely.

“We appeal to what is most honest, wise, and most courageous in you,” states the group’s letter, which was signed by leaders and members of PDA chapters nationwide. “To the elder in you. To the grandfather in you. Do not gamble with our lives and with the lives of generations yet unborn. Reject the Willow Oil Project.”

“To the elder in you. To the grandfather in you. Do not gamble with our lives and with the lives of generations yet unborn. Reject the Willow Oil Project.”

Grijalva and Markey were joined in the bicameral letter by Rep. Nanette Diaz Barragán (D-Calif.), Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.), Rep. Jamaal Bowman(D-N.Y.), Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.), Rep. Diana DeGette (D-Colo.), Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Rep. Jared Huffman (D-Calif.), Rep. Pramila Jayapal(D-Wash.), Rep. Ro Khanna(D-Calif.), Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), Rep. Mike Levin (D-Calif.), Sen. Jeffrey A. Merkley (D-Ore.), Rep. Gwen S. Moore (D-Wis.), Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez(D-N.Y.), Sen. Bernie Sanders(I-Vt.), Rep. Janice Schakowsky (D-Ill.), Rep. Darren Soto (D-Fla.), Sen. Elizabeth Warren(D-Mass.), and Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.).

“The Willow Project would lead to over 9 million metric tons of carbon emissions per year,” said Rep. Khanna in a social media post Friday night. “It would be a victory for Big Oil and a huge step backwards on climate.”

Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.


Jon Queally is managing editor of Common Dreams.

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Here are some “ET’s” recorded from around the planet the last couple of days, their consequences, and some extreme temperature outlooks, as well as any extreme precipitation reports:

Here is some new February 2023 climatology:

Here is more climate and weather news from Saturday:

(As usual, this will be a fluid post in which more information gets added during the day as it crosses my radar, crediting all who have put it on-line. Items will be archived on this site for posterity. In most instances click on the pictures of each tweet to see each article. The most noteworthy items will be listed first.)

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