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A drinking problem

REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

Trump is coming for your clean water.

On Tuesday, the president signed an executive order directing the EPA to start the long process of rolling back an Obama-era rule intended to protect water sources from pollution. “It is such a horrible, horrible rule,” he said.

The Clean Water Rule, aka the Waters of the U.S. rule, allows the EPA to regulate streams and wetlands because they feed into larger rivers and lakes that serve as drinking water sources. The rule, which was finalized in 2015, has faced fierce opposition from farmers, oil companies, and homebuilders. It has been embroiled in court fights challenging its validity, including one led by Scott Pruitt, who was then Oklahoma attorney general and is now head of the EPA.

Trump’s order is just the start of what will be a years-long process. As New York University environmental law professor Richard L. Revesz told the New York Times, “It’s like the president calling Scott Pruitt and telling him to start the legal proceedings. It does the same thing as a phone call or a tweet.”

This marks the first time Trump has formally pushed a regulatory change at the EPA, but it won’t be the last. He is expected to soon call for rolling back Obama’s Clean Power Plan, among other rules.