Acting US EPA chief Andrew Wheeler says he will carry out Trump's mission
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler addresses EPA staff at EPA headquarters in Washington, U.S., July 11, 2018. REUTERS/Ting Shen

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s acting chief Andrew Wheeler said on Wednesday he would carry out President Donald Trump’s mission to provide regulatory relief to industry and protect the air and water.

Wheeler had talked to Trump over the last few days and the president had told him to carry out those three tasks, the acting administrator said in his first address to EPA staff at the agency’s headquarters.

Wheeler stepped in on Monday after the previous EPA head, Scott Pruitt, resigned last week amid pressure over a series of ethics controversies. Wheeler, who worked at the EPA in the 1990s and later in the Senate, said he was “not at all ashamed” of more recent work he did lobbying for the coal company Murray Energy. Wheeler has lobbied for a variety of energy interests.

Reporting by Timothy Gardner; Editing by Bernadette Baum