The Biden administration's push to tighten the cybersecurity of U.S. critical infrastructure has drawn its first major lawsuit, sparking a court battle that could weaken the federal government’s ability to protect the facilities and devices that underpin American life.
The stakes of the lawsuit brought by the attorneys general of Arkansas, Iowa and Missouri—who are seeking to invalidate a new Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requirement for states to assess water systems’ cybersecurity practices during routine inspections—reach beyond Americans’ tap water. Other agencies are paying close attention as they craft rules for hospitals, emergency broadcast systems, and other vital infrastructure.
The EPA case highlights the vulnerability of Biden’s strategy of issuing cyber regulations without explicit congressional authorization, a weakness already evident in legal challenges to White House policies like student loan forgiveness. The lawsuit could presage new efforts by Republican-led states and business groups to undermine regulations intended to prevent hackers from sowing chaos.
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