Ruppersberger, Carter Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Protect Energy Grids from Cyber Attack
(Washington, D.C.) – Congressmen C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger (D-MD) and John Carter (R-TX) today re-introduced legislation to protect critical infrastructure such as electric grids from cyber attacks. The “Securing Energy Infrastructure Act” aims to develop solutions to defend the U.S. energy grid using a “back to the future” approach requiring systems to have analog back-up switches. It was inspired, in part, by a 2015 attack on the Ukrainian grid affecting more than 225,000 citizens that would have been much worse had Ukraine not had analog back-up switches to operate its grid.
“A sophisticated cyber attack could have disastrous consequences on the public health, safety, economic security and national security of all Americans,” Congressman Ruppersberger said. “The time to address the vulnerabilities we inherently create when we rely on complicated digital software systems for everyday basics like electricity and running water was yesterday. I urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to support this potentially life-saving bill.”
“Grid attacks are yet another tool in the cyber toolkit of bad actors,” Congressman Carter said. “Addressing the weaknesses of our energy infrastructure should be a top national security priority. This bipartisan legislation will help identify issues, and develop solutions that could one day prevent disastrous consequences from a cyber-attack. I want to thank my friend, Rep. Ruppersberger, for his collaboration on this issue, and I hope that leadership will bring this important bill to the floor soon.”
The bill creates a 2-year pilot program to work with the energy industry to simplify and isolate automated systems that could be vulnerable to a cyber attacks. It also calls for a national strategy to defense the most critical parts of the energy grid and requires the Secretary of Energy to report back to Congress.
The legislation is the companion to a bill authored by Senators Angus King (D-ME) and James Risch (R-ID) that passed the U.S. Senate in late December.
Please click here for the full bill.