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Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke. Photo: Andrew Harnik / AP

Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke has announced a proposal for the largest oil and gas lease sale in U.S. history, totaling 76.9 million acres on the Gulf of Mexico.

  • Why it matters, per Axios' Amy Harder: Offering lease sales of federal waters and lands is one of the easiest and simplest ways the Trump administration can show it's supportive of the oil and gas industry.
  • But, but, but: Persistently low oil prices make new, expensive offshore drilling projects a lot less attractive to the industry than if prices were high. This is more rhetoric than substantive change. Also, the Obama administration actually initially planned this sale a few years ago.

Planned for March 2018, the proposed Lease Sale 250 includes regulations to protect species in the area, biologically sensitive resources, and to avoid any other potential consequences of oil and gas development, per the department's press release. The terms are not yet final.

Sen. Lisa Murkowski, Chairwoman of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, said: "In order to strengthen America's energy dominance, we must anticipate and plan for our needs for decades to come...the administration's decision to move forward with the largest offshore lease sale in our nation's history is a key part of that effort."

Go deeper

Updated 4 hours ago - World

Mexican President López Obrador tests positive for coronavirus

Mexico's President Andrés Manuel López Obrador during a press conference at National Palace in Mexico City, Mexico, on Wednesday. Photo: Ismael Rosas/Eyepix Group/Barcroft Media via Getty Images

Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador announced Sunday evening that he's tested positive for COVID-19.

Driving the news: López Obrador tweeted that he has mild symptoms and is receiving medical treatment. "As always, I am optimistic," he added. "We will all move forward."

4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Sarah Huckabee Sanders to run for governor of Arkansas

Sarah Huckabee Sanders at FOX News' studios in New York City in 2019. Photo: Steven Ferdman/Getty Images

Former White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders will announce Monday that she's running for governor of Arkansas.

The big picture: Sanders was touted as a contender after it was announced she was leaving the Trump administration in June 2019. Then-President Trump tweeted he hoped she would run for governor, adding "she would be fantastic." Sanders is "seen as leader in the polls" in the Republican state, notes the Washington Post's Josh Dawsey, who first reported the news.

Coronavirus has inflamed global inequality

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

History will likely remember the pandemic as the "first time since records began that inequality rose in virtually every country on earth at the same time." That's the verdict from Oxfam's inequality report covering the year 2020 — a terrible year that hit the poorest, hardest across the planet.

Why it matters: The world's poorest were already in a race against time, facing down an existential risk in the form of global climate change. The coronavirus pandemic could set global poverty reduction back as much as a full decade, according to the World Bank.