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Photo: Sergi Reboredo/VW PICS/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

The Trump administration on Friday announced in a revised environmental impact study that it will permit expanded logging and development in Alaska's Tongass National Forest.

Why it matters: The forest covers approximately 25,000 square miles and has been largely protected since the Clinton administration, per NPR. The final rule makes 168,000 acres of old growth in the forest available for timbering, in addition to 20,000 acres of young growth.

  • The timber industry argues that the forest provides vital inventory and flexibility. Climate activists argue the forest is key in battling climate change, as its dense tree population serves as a carbon storage space.

Our thought bubble via Axios' Amy Harder: When Trump won the White House in 2016, conventional wisdom suggested he would focus only on repealing regulatory and executive actions by former President Barack Obama.

  • This move is the latest example of how Trump is reaching much further back into history to repeal other pro-environmental executive actions.

What we're watching: Like most executive actions, if former Vice President Joe Biden wins in November, this move is likely to be reversed.

Go deeper

Hans Nichols, author of Sneak Peek
Dec 17, 2020 - Energy & Environment

Biden picks North Carolina environmental regulator Michael Regan to lead EPA

Biden delivering a speech on climate change in September. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

President-elect Joe Biden will nominate Michael Regan, the top environmental regulator in North Carolina, to lead the Environmental Protection Agency, a source familiar with the decision confirmed to Axios.

Why it matters: If confirmed by the Senate, Regan would be the first Black man to head the agency, which will be tasked with strengthening environmental standards after four years of the Trump administration's aggressive efforts to undo Obama-era protections.

Republicans pledge to set aside differences and work with Biden

President Biden speaks to Sen. Mitch McConnell after being sworn in at the West Front of the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday. Photo: Erin Schaff-Pool/Getty Images

Several Republicans praised President Biden's calls for unity during his inaugural address on Wednesday and pledged to work together for the benefit of the American people.

Why it matters: The Democrats only have a slim majority in the Senate and Biden will likely need to work with the GOP to pass his legislative agenda.

The Biden protection plan

Joe Biden announces his first run for the presidency in June 1987. Photo: Howard L. Sachs/CNP/Getty Images

The Joe Biden who became the 46th president on Wednesday isn't the same blabbermouth who failed in 1988 and 2008.

Why it matters: Biden now heeds guidance about staying on task with speeches and no longer worries a gaffe or two will cost him an election. His staff also limits the places where he speaks freely and off the cuff. This Biden protective bubble will only tighten in the months ahead, aides tell Axios.