For more than a year, President Biden and others have harangued oil and gas companies for earning too much money and then not investing enough of those profits to increase domestic production.

Enter ConocoPhillips with its Willow project in the National Petroleum Reserve — Alaska (NPR-A). The development is expected to produce 180,000 barrels of oil daily at its peak, making it the most significant project on Alaska’s North Slope in more than 20 years.

In addition to contributing to America’s energy security, Willow will create thousands of construction jobs and hundreds of permanent jobs. It will also generate billions in tax and royalty revenues for the federal government, the state of Alaska and local communities.

A project of this magnitude that is shovel-ready and can produce the domestic energy the country desperately needs sounds precisely like what Biden is looking for. Why then are opponents threatening to hold it back?

Willow recently received the final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement from the Bureau of Land Management, with a final decision expected in early March. Biden has signaled support for the project from the get-go, but many in the environmental community feel differently. They are pressuring the administration to put restrictions on the project that could make it uneconomical to develop.

Willow’s detractors don’t seem to understand that just because oil isn’t produced on American soil doesn’t mean Americans will use less of it. While the eventual shift to renewable energy sources like wind and solar may seem inevitable, the government’s estimates show that it won’t be completed anytime soon. In the meantime, demand for petroleum isn’t declining, and the need for affordable, reliable energy will only increase.

If that’s the case, wouldn’t we — and much of the rest of the world — instead get those barrels from Alaska than countries with lower environmental standards or hostile and corrupt regimes like Russia, Venezuela and Iran?

ConservAmerica supports the development of alternative and renewable energy sources, but we also believe in a realistic approach that ensures we maintain our energy security today and for the future. In his recent State of the Union address, Biden acknowledged that America will need oil for decades. Willow is part of the solution.

Traditional energy projects like Willow should be considered within our environmental and conservation goals. Sometimes a project — like the Pebble Mine in Alaska — fails that test. But the NPR-A was explicitly designated for oil development, while the 19 million acres of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to the east were set aside for conservation.

It’s difficult to understand the objections to the Willow project other than some automatic opposition to fossil fuels. The project meets the highest environmental protection standards set by state and federal regulators, and it complies with the 2022 NPR-A Integrated Activity Plan developed during the Obama administration, identifying where development should occur and protecting special areas within NPR-A.

Despite a flurry of oil and gas activity on the North Slope, the air quality there is consistently better than national ambient air quality standards; a recent study found that North Slope oil fields released far less methane than oil- and gas-producing regions in the lower 48 states.

As with any project of this size, Willow was developed with extensive public involvement, including more than 215 days of public comment and in-person public meetings, many held in the local Alaska Native communities nearest the project.

Willow is overwhelmingly supported by state and local officials, who see it as an opportunity to invigorate the regional economy and extend the operating life of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline. At peak production, Willow would increase throughput in the pipeline by over 35 percent.

The Alaska House of Representatives recently voted unanimously to support Willow as the state’s most significant potential oil and gas development in decades.

The Alaska Federation of Natives, representing 209 federally recognized tribes, and the state’s Native-owned corporations and regional nonprofit organizations have lobbied the Interior Department to approve Willow. Alaska’s bipartisan congressional delegation is also on record supporting the project. Democrat Rep. Mary Peltola and Republican senators Dan Sullivan and Lisa Murkowski have all voiced support for Willow in recent speeches.

If we want a cleaner energy future, we must be honest about the energy we need now and where it’s produced. Willow would deliver energy efficiently and under the highest environmental standards in the world.

Willow makes sense for America’s economy and security. We at ConservAmerica believe it can be developed safely and efficiently. The Biden administration should make its decision on Willow based on facts and science, not politics.