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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The Interior Department will imminently take the next step toward selling drilling leases in Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge before President Trump leaves office, Bloomberg reports.

Driving the news: They report that as soon as today, Interior will issue a "call for nominations" for parcels to auction at a sale of drilling rights in 1.6 million acres of the refuge's coastal plain.

Why it matters: The Arctic refuge is thought to hold billions of barrels of recoverable oil. But the sensitive ecosystem is home to polar bears, caribou and other wildlife.

Where it stands: President-elect Joe Biden opposes drilling in the refuge, so look for his administration to try and stymie the effort.

  • But the 2017 law that opened the refuge after a decades-long fight requires leasing there, so he can't just wish the whole thing away.
  • However, there are several ways Biden could delay development efforts or try to reimpose restrictions.
Expand chart

One reason why Alaskan politicians are keen to open ANWR is the prospect of adding new revenues to a state where oil production has long been declining.

The big picture: The U.S. crude oil production boom of the last decade has instead been centered in a few lower-48 states — none more than Texas.

Go deeper: How Biden could thwart Trump's Arctic push

Go deeper

Ben Geman, author of Generate
Jan 28, 2021 - Energy & Environment

Takeaways from Biden's sweeping order on climate change

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

President Biden's mammoth executive order on climate policy weighs in at over 7,500 words and resists any single narrative, but I've got a few initial takeaways.

Why it matters: The order aims to marshal the entire federal government behind new initiatives, so that means agencies that may not have the muscle memory or expertise of the resource and environmental branches like EPA and DOE.

Cuomo barraged by fellow Dems after second harassment accusation

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo faced a barrage of criticism from fellow Democrats after The New York Times reported that the second former aide in four days had accused him of sexual harassment.

Why it matters: Cuomo had faced a revolt from legislators for his handling of nursing-home deaths from COVID. Now, the scandal is acutely personal, with obviously grave political risk.

2 hours ago - Health

Fauci: Children "very likely" to get COVID vaccine at start of 2022

NIAID Director Anthony Fauci. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Children under age 12 will "very likely" be able to get vaccinated for coronavirus at the "earliest the end of the year, and very likely the first quarter of 2022," NIAID Director Anthony Fauci told "Meet the Press" Sunday.

Why it matters: Children generally aren't at risk of serious coronavirus infections, but vaccinating them will be key to protecting the adults around them and, eventually, reaching herd immunity, writes Axios' Caitlin Owens.