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House Energy and Commerce Committee Passes Bipartisan Solutions to Enhance Cybersecurity of U.S. Energy Infrastructure


06.10.21

Includes Passage of Bipartisan Legislation to Strengthen DOE’s Ability to Respond to Threats Against Pipelines

Washington, D.C. — The House Energy and Commerce Committee passed four bipartisan bills today boosting cybersecurity over America’s energy infrastructure, including H.R. 3078, the Pipeline and LNG Facility Cybersecurity Preparedness Act, led by Energy Subcommittee Republican Leader Fred Upton (R-MI)This bill will strengthen the Department of Energy’s ability to respond to threats against pipeline and LNG facilities—just like in the case of Colonial’s cyberattack. This bill will not add new, burdensome regulations to American pipelines and the energy sector, rather, it will help with coordination, collaboration, and will help states and the energy sector respond.

In addition, the Committee passed with overwhelming bipartisan support: 

  • The Energy Emergency Leadership Act (H.R. 3119), led by Bobby Rush (D-IL) and Tim Walberg (R-MI), will help elevate energy emergency and cybersecurity responsibilities as a core function for the Department of Energy;
  • The Cyber Sense Act (H.R. 2928), led by Bob Latta (R-OH) and Jerry McNerney (D-CA), will bolster U.S. electric infrastructure by encouraging coordination between the Department of Energy and electric utilities;
  • The Enhancing Grid Security through Public-Private Partnerships Act (H.R. 2931), led by Jerry McNerney (D-CA) and Bob Latta (R-OH), directs the Secretary of Energy, in consultation with States, other Federal agencies, and industry stakeholders, to create and implement a program to enhance the physical and cyber security of electric utilities.

During today’s markup, Leader Rodgers said:

“Given the cascading impacts that a cyberattack can have across the nation’s energy supply chain, a coordinated government approach to the cyber and physical security of pipelines, led by the Department of Energy, is essential to ensuring the safe and reliable flow of energy across the U.S.,” Leader Rodgers said. “In 2015, this Committee led the effort to designate DOE as the sector-specific agency for the energy sector under the FAST Act. Now, Congress must act again to provide DOE with additional authorities and responsibilities to strengthen the security of pipelines.”

Energy Subcommittee Republican Leader Upton said:

“This is going to strengthen DOE’s ability to respond to physical and cyber threats to our nation’s pipelines. Colonial pipeline was more than a wake-up call. We’ve been talking about this for a long time. This bill is going to help address the future. As the sector specific agency for energy, DOE must play a stronger lead role to protect our nation. This is going to require the Secretary to carry out a program to coordinate federal agencies, states, and the energy sector to ensure the security, resiliency, and survivability of natural gas pipelines. It’s going to authorize DOE to coordinate the response and recovery of physical and cyber incidents impacting the energy sector.

Background:

  • May 12, 2021, Energy and Commerce Committee Leaders Introduce Bipartisan Solutions to Enhance Cybersecurity for U.S. Energy Infrastructure (May 12, 2021): The Colonial Pipeline cyberattack and the ripple effects being felt now across the country are sharp reminders of just how deeply we all rely upon our energy infrastructure every day, and just how crucial it is that we invest in modernizing and protecting it. Doing so is a matter of national security, and we’re pleased to be working in a bipartisan way to strengthen our energy infrastructure, including by enhancing security and resiliency of our pipelines, LNG facilities, and electric grid, particularly through the Department of Energy (DOE).” — Joint Statement from Leader Rodgers and Chairman Frank Pallone (D-NJ).
  • Pipeline and LNG Cybersecurity is a Job for DOE—Not TSARead more here.
Press Release