Opinion: President Biden should reapprove the Willow Project

This 2019 aerial photo, provided by ConocoPhillips, shows an exploratory drilling camp at the proposed site of the Willow Project on Alaska's North Slope.

Lisa Murkowski, a Republican, is the senior US senator from Alaska. She is a senior member of the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, having previously served as chair. Dan Sullivan, a Republican, is the junior US senator from Alaska. He sits on the Senate Armed Services and Environment and Public Works committees. Mary Peltola, a Democrat, is a US representative for Alaska and the first Alaska Native elected to Congress. She serves on the House Committee on Natural Resources and the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure. The views expressed in this commentary are their own. View more opinion on CNN.

(CNN)The Biden administration will soon make a final decision on a major oil drilling project in Alaska — the Willow Project. As the state's congressional delegation — two Republicans and one Democrat — we represent Alaskans who are united in strong support of the project and urging its swift reapproval.

We all recognize the need for cleaner energy, but there is a major gap between our capability to generate it and our daily needs. Even those who practice a subsistence lifestyle in Alaska — living primarily off the land and water — rely on boats, snowmachines and ATVs, and those all need fuel. In rural parts of our state, gasoline prices have been as high as $18 a gallon. That is crippling — both for our economy and for the practice of traditional livelihoods, which new energy supplies will only help.
We need affordable energy today, and we will need it well into the future. And both are reasons why Willow matters.
    First, the basics.
      Willow is in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska (NPR-A), an area in northwest Alaska roughly the size of Indiana. In 1976, Congress re-designated the area explicitly for environmentally responsible resource development. That occurs based on sound science and the best available technology, and is carried out in careful balance with the subsistence and economic needs of Alaska Native communities on our North Slope.
      The project's developer, ConocoPhillips, says it has paid approximately $120 million to the federal government for lease acquisition and rental costs, which it started to acquire during the Clinton-Gore administration. After a decade of preliminary environmental studies, the company listened as the Obama-Biden administration urged development in the petroleum reserve and ultimately applied to develop Willow in 2018.
      More than five years later, after several rounds of environmental analysis, career civil servants at the Bureau of Land Management have recommended Willow's approval with some modifications to reduce the project size and footprint.
        Now, the question is whether the Biden-Harris administration recognizes that Willow will dramatically benefit the Alaska Native people who live on the North Slope, our state's stagnant economy and our nation's energy security — all while creating hundreds of permanent jobs and thousands of temporary ones, and generating fewer emissions than imported oil.
        This should be an easy decision. The administration has made combating climate change a priority, while also acknowledging that the transition to cleaner energy will take time. In the meantime, we need oil, and compared to the other countries we can source it from, we believe Willow is by far the most environmentally responsible choice.
        In total, the Bureau of Land Management's preferred project will impact just 429 acres, which is a tiny fraction of the 23-million-acre petroleum reserve. The Biden administration has separately blocked surface development on 11 million acres of NPR-A, meaning that Alaskans are asking to develop an area of land 25,600 times smaller than what has been placed off limits.
        Willow is meticulously planned and will be developed safely. It will adhere to hundreds of lease stipulations and best practices — including the use of ice roads and underground extended reach drilling — to minimize impacts.
        Despite its small size, the project will still deliver immense benefits. According to ConocoPhillips, it will provide 2,500 construction jobs, 75% of which will be union jobs. According to the Bureau of Land Management's estimates, the government revenues it generates over the life of the project, up to $17 billion, will be split among the fede