The Biden administration is preparing to effectively approve a scaled-down version of a major oil drilling operation proposed on Alaska’s North Slope. ConocoPhillips’ Willow project is seeking to drill in five locations in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska. The Interior Department’s draft “preferred alternative” allowing three drilling locations (the fewest at which the project would still be profitable) effectively signals it would approve such a plan. Over its lifetime, the ConocoPhillips plan would cause at least 278 million metric tons of CO2 pollution, more than 66 coal-fired power plants. The move would sharply contradict recent administration moves to protect wilderness areas from resource extraction. “It is incomprehensible how an administration that is as climate-conscious as this one could even be contemplating letting this project move forward,” EarthJustice president Abigail Dillen told the New York Times. (New York Times $, Washington Post $, OilPrice, Bloomberg Law; Drilling opposition: Alaska Public Media)