President Joe Biden has approved a massive $8 billion oil drilling project on federal land in Alaska, breaking one of his central campaign promises. The drilling proposal, known as The Willow Project, is expected to supply 600 million barrels of oil.

Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) was one of the biggest advocates of the drilling project, which is projected to bring 2,500 jobs and millions of dollars into the local economy. The senator claimed that Biden initially opposed the project and “needed to really be brought around.”

“There was no way around the fact that these were valid existing lease rights,” Murkowski said. “The administration was going to have to deal with that reality.”

Energy giant ConocoPhillips will fund the project. The oil company has held contracts to drill oil in Alaska for over two decades.

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“No more drilling on federal lands, period. Period, period, period,” Biden said on the campaign trail in 2020.

Biden administration officials said the president was acutely aware of the disparity between Biden’s campaign promises and his endorsement of the Willow Project.

They point to years of court-mandated drilling projects as evidence that the administration’s hands are tied.

The Biden administration won concessions from ConocoPhillips before the drilling began to appease environmental advocates. The energy producer agreed to contain their project within a certain radius. The administration also designated new limitations on specific lands for future oil and gas leasing.

Ben Jealous, president of the Sierra Club, called the administration’s efforts to appeal to the environmental community “window dressing.”

“If President Biden were sitting here, I’d tell him don’t spit on us and tell us that it’s raining, Mr. President,” Jealous said, calling the agreement “a major breach of trust.”

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