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Joe Manchin, incoming top Democrat on the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources 

Senate Democrats on Tuesday elevated West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin as the ranking Democrat on the Energy and Natural Resources Committee despite fierce opposition from some progressive groups over Manchin’s support for and campaign contributions from coal and oil-and-gas companies.

Why it matters: These critics say Manchin is too close to the industries he will oversee and that he may impede the passage of future bold climate change proposals. Last week, in what may have been an effor to diminish those concerns, Manchin voted against President Trump's choice for a seat on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission over the nominee's views on climate change.

What they're saying: Manchin said in a statement that he’s “excited for the opportunity to continue to serve West Virginians in this new role.”

  • “The problems facing our country are serious, and I am committed to working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to find common-sense solutions for long-term comprehensive energy policy that incorporates an all-of-the-above strategy and ensures our state and our nation are leaders in the energy future,” he continued.

Anti-fossil-fuels group Oil Change USA said this is "the wrong choice at the wrong time for the Democrats. ... While climate impacts are getting ever more intense, and the science shows we must keep fossil fuels in the ground, Senator Manchin has enjoyed nearly $1 million in campaign contributions from oil, gas and coal interests in his career."

Go deeper

1 hour ago - World

Scoop: Iran preparing to enrich weapons-grade uranium, Israel warns U.S.

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi holds a press conference. Photo: Presidency of Iran handout via Getty

Israel has shared intelligence over the past two weeks with the U.S. and several European allies suggesting that Iran is taking technical steps to prepare to enrich uranium to 90% purity — the level needed to produce a nuclear weapon, two U.S. sources briefed on the issue tell me.

Why it matters: Enriching to 90% would bring Iran closer than ever to the nuclear threshold. The Israeli warnings come as nuclear talks resume in Vienna, with Iran returning to the negotiating table on Monday after a five-month hiatus.

Biden: Fight against Omicron won't include "shutdowns or lockdowns"

Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

President Biden on Monday said that the new coronavirus variant, Omicron, is "a cause for concern, not a cause for panic."

Driving the news: Biden said later this week the administration will be releasing a strategy on how "we're going to fight COVID this winter. Not with shutdowns or lockdowns, but with more widespread vaccinations, boosters, testing and more."

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Health: WHO says Omicron poses "very high" risk — Fauci says Omicron variant will "inevitably" be found in U.S. — U.S. restricts air travel from 8 countries over Omicron concerns.
  2. Politics: Biden says fight against Omicron won't include "shutdowns or lockdowns."
  3. States: New York declares state of emergency amid concerns over Omicron.
  4. World: Omicron adds urgency to vaccinating worldWHO warns against travel bans on southern African countries — First North American Omicron cases identified in Canada.
  5. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.