On Wednesday April 18, 2018, the House of Representatives Committee on Energy and Commerce passed four bipartisan bills with the aim of improving the government’s response to cyberattacks on critical energy infrastructure. These bills come on the heels of attempts by nation states and other threat actors to access industrial control system (ICS) networks in advance of potential malicious activity.
The Energy Emergency Leadership Act (H.R. 5174), amends the Department of Energy Organization Act (42 U.S.C 7133(a)), allowing the Secretary to assign functions to an Assistant Secretary regarding “energy emergency and energy security functions.
Two of the bills, the Cyber Sense Act (H.R. 5239) and the Enhancing Grid Security through Public-Private Partnership Act (H.R. 5240) create avenues for the Department of Energy and private sector infrastructure businesses to communicate their cybersecurity research and plans for implementation.
The last bill, the Pipeline and LNG Facility Cybersecurity Preparedness Act (H.R. 5175), give the Energy Secretary, in consultation with the States and other stakeholders the ability to develop policies regarding the security of natural gas, liquefied natural gas, and other hazardous liquid pipelines.
These drafts survived the markup session, and passed through the subcommittee on a voice vote. We will follow the action on these bills and keep you updated should changes arise.