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

Coronavirus pandemic zaps America's natural-gas export boom

Reproduced from EIA with IHS Markit data; Chart: Axios Visuals

After the U.S. exported a record amount of liquefied natural gas in late March, the coronavirus pandemic — paired with warm weather — cut that amount by more than half in June, according to IHS Markit data.

Why it matters: Politically, it's a blow to President Trump’s energy agenda. Economically, it's contributing to job losses and project delays in the oil-and-gas industry, which is now a significant part of the economy.

Trump commutes Roger Stone's sentence

Roger Stone arriving at his sentencing hearing on Feb. 20. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

President Trump on Friday evening commuted the sentence of his longtime associate Roger Stone, according to two senior administration officials. Stone in February was sentenced to 40 months in prison for crimes including obstruction, witness tampering and making false statements to Congress.

Why it matters: The controversial move brings an abrupt end to the possibility of Stone spending time behind bars. He had been scheduled to report to prison on July 14.

Updated 4 hours ago - Health

Which states have set single-day coronavirus records this week

Data: COVID Tracking Project and state health department data compiled by Axios; Map: Danielle Alberti and Naema Ahmed/Axios

13 states this week surpassed records set just last week for their highest number of coronavirus infections in a single day, according to the COVID Tracking Project and state health department data. 16 states in total reported new highs.

The big picture: The United States' alarming rise in coronavirus cases isn't just due to increased testing — particularly where the number of cases has grown fastest over the last month, Axios' Andrew Witherspoon and Caitlin Owens report.