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Former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship, left, walks out of the Robert C. Byrd U.S. Courthouse after the jury deliberated for a fifth full day in his trial back in 2016. Photo: Chris Tilley / AP

Former energy executive Don Blankenship, who recently spent a year in California prison for "conspiring to willfully violate mine safety standards," will run for West Virginia's U.S. Senate seat as a Republican, per the local ABC affiliate in Charleston, West Virginia.

The intrigue: Blankenship was released from prison just six months ago, and according to USA Today investigative reporter Brad Heath, isn't allowed to leave Nevada without permission from a judge or probate officer until May because he's on federal supervision.

Why it matters: Blankenship's probation conditions, in addition to his controversial past as the Massey Energy chief executive when the Upper Big Branch mine exploded, will make campaigning for Senate even more difficult. He has blamed others for the explosion incident and even wrote a 67-page blog post about it, which he later printed and distributed 250,000 copies, per WCHS.

If he wins the primary, he'll face incumbent Dem. Senator Joe Manchin.

Go deeper

Updated 9 hours ago - Sports

The potential GOAT of chess faces intriguing challenger

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The World Chess Championship between Norway's Magnus Carlsen and Russia's Ian Nepomniachtchi began on Friday, 1,094 days after Carlsen won his fourth consecutive title.

Why it matters: During the long, COVID-fueled layoff, chess entered a new era, and with the championship finally here, the age-old game is ready for its close-up.

Department of Interior proposes raising cost of drilling on public lands

A horizontal drilling rig and a pump jack sit on federal land in Lea County, New Mexico. Photo: Callaghan O'Hare/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Oil and gas companies should pay more to drill on federal lands and waters, the Department of the Interior argued in a report released Friday, saying that the current rates were "outdated."

Driving the news: The Department of Interior report said that the federal government's oil and gas leasing and permitting program "fails to provide a fair return to taxpayers, even before factoring in the resulting climate-related costs that must be borne by taxpayers."

11 hours ago - Health

U.S. to restrict air travel from 8 countries over new COVID variant concerns

A COVID-19 vaccine is administered. Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images

The U.S. will impose new air travel restrictions in response to the Omicron variant, a new COVID strain first detected in South Africa, President Biden announced Friday.

The big picture: Air travel from South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Mozambique and Malawi will be restricted starting on Monday.