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Congressman C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger

Representing the 2nd District of Maryland

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Ruppersberger Introduces House Companion to Senate Energy Grid Security Measure

Oct 4, 2017
Press Release

(Washington, DC) – Congressman C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger (MD-02) and Congressman John R. Carter (TX-31) today introduced the Securing Energy Infrastructure Act of 2017, a House companion bill to legislation by the same name introduced in the U.S. Senate by Senator Angus King (I-ME) and Senator James E. Risch (R-ID).

Congressman Ruppersberger said, “The serious threats to our critical energy infrastructure continue to escalate in cyberspace at an alarming rate. We know our adversaries are exploiting vulnerabilities that exist at both large and small energy companies. In a world centered on technology, we must shore up systems that protect critical resources.”

“Securing our country’s energy infrastructure is a national security priority.  Understanding where our system’s weak spots are will only enhance efforts to support robust efforts to ensure we have the most stable and secure energy networks in the world,” said Congressman Carter.

“Over the past several years, we have weathered numerous cyber-attacks that have targeted American businesses, people, and government agencies, with the potential for bigger and more damaging attacks growing by the day. That’s why strengthening major components of our national infrastructure – like our electric grid – is critical to our national security,” Senator King said. “By making our electric grid more resilient, we can mitigate the impact of major cyber-attacks on our country and protect American people. I am encouraged to see this common-sense bill has gained support in the House, and urge my colleagues in both the House and the Senate to move it through Congress.”

“Recent cyber-attacks against the U.S. demonstrate how urgently we must act to better defend ourselves, our critical energy infrastructure and our control systems from potentially catastrophic threats,” said Senator Risch, a member of both the Senate Intelligence and Energy and Natural Resources Committees. “I appreciate Congressmen Ruppersberger’s and Carter’s leadership in introducing a companion version of our Senate bill in the House today. There is a clear need to develop techniques and technologies to secure our grid and I look forward to working with our partners in the House to see it through.”

Grid attacks are yet another tool in the cyber toolkit of bad actors. This legislation leverages the unique assets of national laboratories to establish solutions to defend the U.S. energy grid from attacks and to ensure resiliency of operations during and after an event.

The legislation:

  • establishes a two-year pilot program to study covered entities and identify new classes of security vulnerabilities and research and test technology – like analog devices – that could be used to isolate the most critical systems of covered entities from cyber-attacks
  • develops a working group to evaluate the technology solutions proposed and develop a national cyber-informed strategy to isolate the energy grid from attacks
  • requires the Secretary of Energy to submit a report to Congress describing the results of the program, assessing the feasibility of the techniques considered, and outlining the results of the working group’s evaluations.