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Pipeline and LNG Cybersecurity is a Job for DOE — Not TSA.


05.18.21

Colonial Pipeline is restoring its systems for its 5,500 miles of pipeline after the cyberattack. That’s good news for our economy and for gas stations up and down the East Coast.

 By the numbers: As of Monday, May 17, 57% of gas stations in North Carolina were still without gasoline while nearly half of the gas stations in Georgia and South Carolina and over a quarter in Virginia and Maryland were also empty. Washington, DC led the way with 83% of its gas stations empty of fuel. For the first time since 2014, the national average gas price went above $3 a gallon. Also, the national average has surged by over a dollar compared to one year ago.

What it means: This cyberattack on Colonial Pipeline had a crippling effect. Gas stations ran dry and prices spiked. Airlines also had to reroute flights and change operations. It underscored why America must secure our energy infrastructure — including pipelines which Energy Secretary Granholm said herself is the “best way” to transport fuel.

So, which agency is best for the job to keep pipelines secure? Hint: It’s not TSA, which doesn’t have lead authority over our energy sector.

As Energy Subcommittee Republican Leader Fred Upton has said, “we cannot separate pipeline safety from pipeline security.”

In accordance with authority Congress provided in the FAST Act in 2015, the Department of Energy is the lead agency for cybersecurity for the energy sector. DOE is the best sector-specific agency to keep pipelines safe, combat threats, and keep our energy sources flowing.

That’s why the Energy and Commerce Committee is leading on the Pipeline and LNG Facility Cybersecurity Preparedness Act. It 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.

Key from bipartisan energy leaders on the House Energy and Commerce Committee Fred Upton and Bobby Rush: “[The Colonial Pipeline] cyberattack exposed our vulnerabilities and underscored the urgent need to strengthen our energy infrastructure and protect the systems that help power our way of life. The Pipeline and LNG Facility Cybersecurity Preparedness Act will help the Department of Energy respond effectively to physical and cyber threats to our nation’s pipeline and LNG facilities. Our national security and economic vitality rely on the efficient transport of crucial energy supplies nationwide. Any prolonged delay in fuel delivery can hike gas prices, impact business operations, raise energy costs for American families, and invite adversaries to exploit these vulnerabilities. We need to work together now to prevent similar attacks from occurring in the future.”

Also don’t miss this bipartisan joint statement from Republican Energy and Commerce Leader Cathy McMorris Rodgers and Chairman of Energy and Commerce Frank Pallone: “Members of our Committee have worked together in a bipartisan fashion for years to strengthen the security of our energy infrastructure.  We’re committed to continuing that tradition now as we work to get meaningful improvements enacted into law.  That’s why we are original cosponsors of the Pipeline and LNG Facility Cybersecurity Preparedness Act led by Representatives Bobby Rush and Fred Upton.  It would directly help DOE respond to physical and cyber threats to our pipeline and LNG facilities, like in the case of Colonial.  This attack and ongoing outage simply underscore the vulnerabilities we have highlighted, and how crucial it is that Congress act to enhance DOE’s cybersecurity authorities so that an incident like this does not happen again.”

CLICK HERE for more on the bipartisan solution to keep America’s pipelines more secure.

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