Bill introduced to protect critical electric infrastructure

May 18, 2020, 9:54AMNuclear News

Sens. Lisa Murkowski (R., Alaska) and James Risch (R., Idaho) have introduced legislation to bolster safeguards for U.S. critical electric infrastructure. Dubbed the Energy Infrastructure Protection Act, the bill updates provisions in the Federal Power Act and restricts federal disclosures of certain sensitive energy information.

What they’re saying:“Protecting our nation's electric infrastructure is a matter of national security,” said Murkowski, chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, in a May 13 press release. “Our bill equips the federal government with additional tools to safeguard the utility industry’s sensitive information. It also takes important steps to ensure that information critical to utility operations is not unintentionally exposed, as that could surrender America’s energy security to foreign adversaries.”

Added Risch: “It's crucial that the federal government and electric industry work in tandem to defend our critical electric infrastructure. The Energy Infrastructure Protection Act includes measures that will enable the federal government to protect utilities’ sensitive information from disclosures that could compromise our national security.”

Zooming in: According to the press release, the act would enhance current federal protections for information received from utilities through the following:

Directing the Department of Energy and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to improve methods to protect critical energy information.

Granting explicit authority to the DOE and FERC to help energy companies improve security.

Allowing federal, state, and local authorities to request that their own critical energy information be protected under special designation by the DOE or FERC.

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