House Panel Looks For Ways To Protect US Electricity Grid

June 1, 2011
Cyber Security, FedCyber Wire
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via Wall Street Journal

WASHINGTON (Dow Jones)–A U.S. House panel on Tuesday considered how to kickstart legislation aimed at better protecting the nation’s electricity grid.

At a hearing by an Energy and Commerce Committee panel, lawmakers discussed ways to modify and strengthen legislation that had passed in the House last year, but failed in the Senate. It was intended to protect electric-power supplies from vulnerabilities that leave them susceptible to attacks and natural disasters. Separating cybersecurity threats from physical and electromagnetic vulnerabilities was suggested as a way to move forward with the legislation in the Senate.

The Obama administration has also issued guidance on electric grid vulnerabilities, mainly dealing with cybersecurity, but a representative from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Joseph McClelland, said that he didn’t believe that the administration’s proposals conflict with the legislation being discussed in the House.

The electricity grid legislation, known as the Grid Act, passed in the House in June 2010 with bipartisan support. There is a second piece of legislation in the House, the Shield Act, which is similar but more narrowly focused and attempts to remove issues that prevented the other bill from clearing the Senate last year.

“This legislation is as bipartisan as they come,” Rep. Henry Waxman (D., Calif.) said.

Continued here.