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Photo: Loop Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

The Bureau of Land Management on Thursday proposed to expand oil and gas drilling to over two-thirds of the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska: the nation's largest stretch of public land.

Why it matters: Alaska's all-GOP congressional delegation — including Sens. Dan Sullivan, Lisa Murkowski and Rep. Don Young — is praising the plan as a means to boost the state's economy, per the Washington Post. But environmental advocates are lamenting the potential loss of wildlife protections for the Alaskan tract that have spanned over four decades.

  • The roughly 23-million-acre reserve is estimated to hold 8.7 billion barrels of untapped oil and 25 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. Half of the reservation is already open for drilling.

Yes, but... With capital spending by oil and gas companies in a steep decline, "the industry has virtually no appetite for Alaska drilling," Pavel Molchanov, senior energy analyst for the investment firm Raymond James, told the Post.

  • Some of the nation's largest banks — including JPMorgan Chase and Goldman Sachs — have also said they will no longer finance Arctic oil and gas developments.

Go deeper

Ben Geman, author of Generate
Oct 2, 2020 - Energy & Environment

Supreme Court to review climate change lawsuit venue

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The Supreme Court said Friday that it will review a petition from Big Oil companies — including BP, Exxon and Chevron — that argues that mounting climate lawsuits against them should be kept out of state courts.

Why it matters: "The high court’s interest in the issue is good news for oil and gas companies, which have tried for years to push climate liability cases to federal courts, and ultimately defeat them," Bloomberg Law reports.

5 vulnerable GOP senators vote to protect Affordable Care Act from Trump lawsuit

Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), with Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W. Va.) in the background, in February 2018. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Six Republican senators, five of whom are up for re-election in 2020, sided with Democrats on Thursday in a procedural vote to block the Trump administration from supporting a lawsuit that would dismantle the Affordable Care Act.

Why it matters: The final vote on the motion was 51-43, failing to reach the necessary 60-vote threshold to pass. But the move by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) forced several vulnerable GOP senators to go on the record on whether they support the lawsuit, which could strip protections from pre-existing conditions for millions of Americans.

Scoop: Qatar emir to visit White House on Monday

The emir of Qatar, Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, leaves the White House after meeting President Trump in 2019. Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty Images

The emir of Qatar will meet with President Biden at the White House on Monday to discuss Afghanistan as well as contingency plans to provide natural gas to Europe in the event of a Russian invasion of Ukraine, Axios has learned.

Why it matters: Europe's reliance on Russia for 40% of its natural gas is undermining Biden's attempts to coordinate "massive" sanctions to be imposed from both sides of the Atlantic if Russia invades. The White House wants Qatar to help ensure European countries can enforce tough sanctions without risking an energy crisis.