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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

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.

Obama says Powell exemplified what America "can and should be"

Then-President Obama speaks alongside former Secretary of State Colin Powell (left) during a meeting in the Oval Office in 2010. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

Former President Obama called Colin Powell an "exemplary soldier and an exemplary patriot" in a statement honoring the former general following his death from COVID complications on Monday.

Why it matters: Powell, the first Black U.S. secretary of state, was known as a Republican but played a critical role in helping Obama get elected in 2008.

Justice Department asks Supreme Court to block Texas abortion ban

Abortion rights activists rally at the Texas State Capitol on Sept. 11 in Austin, Texas. Photo: Jordan Vonderhaar/Getty Images

The Justice Department on Monday asked the Supreme Court to temporarily block Texas' near-total ban on abortions while federal courts consider its constitutionality.

The big picture: The court last month allowed the ban to take effect, rejecting an emergency application by abortion-rights groups. The law bars the procedure after cardiac activity is detected, as early as six weeks into pregnancy.