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EPA Takes First Step to Repeal Clean Water Rule

The Environmental Protection Agency took the first formal step on Tuesday to repeal the Clean Water Rule, which the Trump administration hopes to replace with a more industry-friendly version.

"We are taking significant action to return power to the states and provide regulatory certainty to our nation's farmers and businesses," EPA head Scott Pruitt said in a statement.

The Obama-era regulation, which was based on a review of more than 1,200 peer-reviewed scientific studies and the input of hundreds of stakeholders, was meant to protect our nation's waterways from pollution, and determine which water bodies were subject to federal oversight. A 2015 survey found that 80 percent of Americans, including 94 percent of Democrats and 68 percent of Republicans, supported the rule.

"Once again, the Trump Administration has agreed to do the bidding of the worst polluters in our country, and once again it's putting the health of American families and communities at risk," Michael Brune, executive director of the Sierra Club, said in a statement.