Environmental Protection Agency

Updated at 8:01 p.m. ET

The nation's top environmental official kept busy Wednesday trying to clean up his own reputation, while a White House spokeswoman offered only a tepid defense.

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The head of the Environmental Protection Agency is fending off multiple accusations that he misused taxpayer funds and maintained improper ties to companies regulated by the EPA.

The Trump Administration today moved to weaken fuel economy standards for automobiles, saying the current ones are inappropriate and wrong.

The long-anticipated move is a win for auto manufacturers, which had lobbied for lower fuel-economy standards. It's also a rejection of one of former President Barack Obama's biggest efforts to combat climate change by curbing greenhouse gas emissions.

President Trump's nominee for deputy administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, Andrew Wheeler, has spent much of his career working for less oversight from the agency.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Environmental groups and concerned residents this week told federal officials the Oklahoma agency charged with protecting air, land and water lacked the resources and rules to manage a state-run plan to regulate coal ash.

This Week in Oklahoma Politics, KOSU's Michael Cross talks with ACLU Oklahoma Executive Director Ryan Kiesel and Republican Political Consultant Neva Hill about the failure by the state legislature to pass the Step Up Oklahoma plan on Monday, Interim Health Commissioner Preston Doerflinger stepping down after news surfaced of domestic abuse and Oklahoma City State Senator David Holt easily wins the election for mayor to replace Mick Cornett.

In 2015, the top toxicologist for the state of Texas, Michael Honeycutt, was interviewed on Houston Public Radio. At the time, the Environmental Protection Agency was pushing for tighter limits on ozone, a type of air pollution that is hazardous for people with asthma and other respiratory diseases.

In 2016, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt told a radio host in Tulsa, Okla., "I believe that Donald Trump in the White House would be more abusive to the Constitution than Barack Obama, and that's saying a lot."

His comments surfaced at a routine Senate committee hearing on Tuesday, when Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., read from a transcript of the interview and asked administrator Pruitt whether he remembered it. "I don't, Senator," Pruitt replied, "and I don't echo that today at all."

The Environmental Protection Agency wants to change how it classifies "glider vehicles" — heavy trucks that are built by pairing a new chassis with an old diesel engine and powertrain. The move would keep the EPA from imposing Clean Air Act emissions standards on the trucks.

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