Congress Passes Ruppersberger Bill to Protect Energy Grids from Cyber Attack
(Washington, D.C.) – Today, Congress passed bipartisan legislation authored by Congressman C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger (D-MD) that will protect critical infrastructure such as electric grids from cyber attacks. The “Securing Energy Infrastructure Act” was included in the National Defense Authorization Act conference report that was adopted by the House of Representatives and will now be signed into law by President Trump.
The bill was inspired, in part, by a 2015 attack on the Ukrainian grid affecting more than 225,000 citizens. Four years later, security gaps persist within our critical infrastructure sectors. The bill authorizes $10 million in new funding to help identify and mitigate these digital vulnerabilities.
“Today, Congress is taking another step towards patching the security gaps in the critical infrastructure that Americans rely on every day for basics like electricity and running water,” Congressman Ruppersberger said. “Our adversaries are targeting these national assets – many of which are small organizations owned and operated by the private sector. We can’t stand by and react to attacks. And we can leverage the expertise of the cybersecurity community to make sure we are fully prepared.”
The bill creates a 2-year pilot program to work with the energy industry to simplify and isolate systems that could be vulnerable to cyber attacks. It also calls for a national strategy to defend the most critical parts of the energy grid and requires the Secretary of Energy to report back to Congress.
The “Securing Energy Infrastructure Act” was cosponsored by Congressman John Carter (R-TX) and was championed in the U.S. Senate by Senators Angus King (I-ME) and Jim Risch (R-ID).