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Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

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Joe Biden. Photo: Roberto Schmidt/Getty Images

Michael Regan, the top environmental regulator in North Carolina, has emerged as a leading candidate to head the Environmental Protection Agency, according to people familiar with the matter.

Why it matters: If nominated and confirmed, Regan, the secretary of the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality, would be the first Black male to head the agency and is yet another example of Biden assembling one of the most diverse Cabinets in U.S. history.

The big picture: Regan could be part of a slate of nominees expected to be announced later this week, including former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm for Energy Department head and Gina McCarthy as domestic climate czar.

  • Regan emerged as the leading candidate after civil rights groups objected to the nomination of Mary Nichols, who led the California Air Resources Board.
  • Regan's interview with Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris went well, according to a person familiar with the matter.
  • A transition official declined to comment.

Our thought bubble via Axios' Ben Geman: Regan brings EPA experience to the job, having served in multiple air quality roles there under Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush.

  • If confirmed, he'll be leading an agency slated to play a key role in Biden's climate change agenda — managing the tricky task of unwinding Trump-era rules and writing new ones to fit an agenda that Biden's campaign said would be more aggressive than Obama-era policies.
  • The North Carolina regulator brings ties to the environmental movement, having served in several senior roles with the Environmental Defense Fund in the 2010s, per his LinkedIn bio.

Go deeper

Mike Allen, author of AM
Jan 21, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Biden-Harris, Day 1: What mattered most

President Joe Biden and first lady Dr. Jill Biden arrive at the North Portico of the White House. Photo: Alex Brandon-Pool/Getty Images

The Axios experts help you sort significance from symbolism. Here are the six Day 1 actions by President Biden that matter most.

Driving the news: Today, on his first full day, Biden translates his promise of a stronger federal response to the pandemic into action — starting with 10 executive orders and other directives, Caitlin Owens writes.

3 hours ago - World

Over 170 Palestinians injured in clashes with Israeli police in Jerusalem

An injured man is carried away as Israeli security forces clash with Palestinian protesters at the al-Aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalem. Photo: Ahmad Gharabli/AFP via Getty Images

At least 178 Palestinians have been injured in clashes with Israeli police in Jerusalem, Reuters reported late Friday.

The big picture: The clashes come amid growing anger over the threatened eviction of Palestinians from their homes on land claimed by Jewish settlers in East Jerusalem. Tensions have also escalated in the occupied West Bank in recent weeks.

Updated 5 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

  1. Health: Coronavirus cases hit a seven-month low — Majority back vaccine proof requirements for travel, schools and work — The race to avoid a possible "monster" COVID variant.
  2. Politics: Oklahoma secures $2.6 million refund for hydroxychloroquine purchase — Why Biden's latest vaccine goal is his hardest yet.
  3. Vaccines: Pfizer begins application for full FDA approval of COVID-19 vaccine — Moderna says its COVID booster shot shows promise against variants.
  4. Economy: U.S. adds just 266,000 jobs in April, far below expectations — Americans' return to the skies could benefit smaller airlines.
  5. World: WHO authorizes China's Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use — Mixed response in Europe to Biden's vaccine patents bombshell.
  6. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.