Latta: Russian Cyber Attack Shows that Congress Should Act to Improve Grid Security
At an Energy and Commerce Subcommittee Hearing, Congressman Bob Latta (R-Bowling Green) questioned Department of Energy Secretary Rick Perry about the agency’s efforts in light of Russian cyber attacks on the electric grid. Latta recently introduced a pair of bills with Congressman Jerry McNerney (D-CA) to improve cyber defense of the nation’s energy infrastructure. H.R. 5239, the Cyber Sense Act, and H.R. 5240, the Enhancing Grid Security through Public-Private Partnership Act, were discussed in a subcommittee hearing earlier this month.
Latta began his questioning at the E&C Subcommittee on Energy hearing by saying, “In recent weeks, we have read news stories about malicious agents working to undermine the safety and security of our nation’s energy infrastructure. According to the Department of Homeland Security, this includes Russian cyber attacks that have remotely targeted the power grid, energy, nuclear, and commercial facilities, and critical manufacturing sectors.”
He continued, “Given the nature of these threats, I believe it is more important than ever that Congress acts. That is why I’ve worked with my colleague, Representative McNerney, to introduce two bipartisan pieces of legislation to address the threat of cyber attacks.”
Secretary Perry highlighted the importance of cybersecurity when it comes to the nation’s grid and stated that he believed that the bipartisan legislation mentioned by Latta could help improve safety and security of our energy infrastructure.
Video is available here.
Latta and McNerney are co-chairs of the Grid Innovation Caucus and have worked in a bipartisan manner to modernize and improve the resiliency of our electric grid.
H.R. 5239 would create a voluntary Department of Energy ‘Cyber Sense’ program that would identify and promote cyber-secure products for use in the bulk-power system. The bill also establishes a testing process for the products along with a reporting process of cybersecurity vulnerabilities. It would require the Secretary of Energy to keep a related database on the products. This would aid electric utilities that are evaluating products and their potential to cause harm to the electric grid.
H.R. 5240 directs DOE to facilitate and encourage public-private partnerships in order to improve cybersecurity of electric utilities. The legislation would improve sharing of best practices and data collection, along with providing training and technical assistance to electric utilities in order to address and mitigate cybersecurity risks.