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E&C Subcommittee Approves Latta-authored Bill to Improve Grid Cybersecurity

Washington, April 18, 2018 | Drew Griffin (202-225-6405)
Today, the Energy and Commerce (E&C) Subcommittee on Energy voted to approve legislation authored by Congressman Bob Latta (R-Bowling Green) to improve the nation’s grid security and resiliency in the face of cyber attacks. The legislation, H.R. 5239, the Cyber Sense Act, would create a voluntary Department of Energy ‘Cyber Sense’ program that would test the cyber security of products and technologies for use in the bulk-power system. 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.

“Bad actors are looking to weaken the American energy sector in any way possible,” said Latta. “We’ve seen that with recent cyber attacks coming from Russia that have targeted our nation’s electric grid. I’ve long been a proponent of modernizing and updating our aging grid for a number of reasons, but improving cyber security is one of the most critical. The Cyber Sense Act will let electric utilities make more informed decisions about the cyber security of the products they are purchasing, increasing resiliency for the entire grid.”

Latta spoke on the legislation before the E&C Subcommittee on Energy. Video is available here.

The Subcommittee also passed legislation that Latta introduced with Rep. Jerry McNerney (D-CA), H.R. 5240, which 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.

Latta and McNerney co-chair the Grid Innovation Caucus, which was founded to provide a forum for discussing solutions to the many challenges facing the grid, and to educate Members of Congress and staff about the importance of the electric grid with relation to the economy, energy security, and advanced technologies being utilized to enhance grid capabilities.

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