House passes three bills related to cybersecurity in the energy industry

Published on July 22, 2021 by Dave Kovaleski

© Shutterstock

The U.S. House of Representatives passed three bills this week that seek to improve energy cybersecurity.

The House passed the Energy Emergency Leadership Act (H.R. 3119), introduced by U.S. Reps. Bobby Rush (D-IL) and Rep. Tim Walberg (R-MI), would elevate energy emergency and cybersecurity responsibilities as a core function for the Department of Energy. It passed by voice vote.

It also advanced the Enhancing Grid Security through Public-Private Partnerships Act (H.R. 2931), sponsored by U.S. Reps. Jerry McNerney (D-CA) and Bob Latta (R-OH), which directs the Secretary of Energy to create a program to enhance the physical and cybersecurity of electric utilities. It also passed by voice vote.

Finally, the House passed the Cyber Sense Act of 2021 (H.R. 2928), introduced by Latta and McNerney, which is designed to bolster the U.S. electric infrastructure by encouraging coordination between the Department of Energy and electric utilities. It passed by an en bloc vote of 319-105.

“The Colonial Pipeline ransomware attack was painful proof that bad actors are increasingly focused on exploiting and attacking our nation’s most critical infrastructure. It’s absolutely crucial that we keep pace with the tools and resources necessary to both stop and mitigate fallout from these cyberattacks, and thankfully, today the House voted to do just that,” House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) and Energy Subcommittee Chairman Rush said in a statement. “The three bipartisan pieces of energy cybersecurity legislation passed today will enhance the security and resiliency of our energy system and represent the first legislative step toward addressing growing cybersecurity threats on our energy infrastructure.”