Sen. Cantwell urges action on energy infrastructure cybersecurity

Published on March 16, 2017 by Daily Energy Insider Reports

Ranking Member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Maria Cantwell (D-WA) urged
the committee and President Trump to take action to defend the U.S. energy infrastructure against cyberattacks.

Cantwell called on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee to act in defense of the nation’s critical infrastructure and to scrutinize how the country modernizes the grid system. Similarly, in a letter to President Trump, Cantwell tried to clarify the Department of Energy’s (DOE) role in cybersecurity, urging the President to direct DOE to take into account Russia’s abilities and efforts to hack into the U.S. energy infrastructure.

“There is the issue of cybersecurity that keeps me up at night, thinking about potential hacks from Russia
or foreign actors, as we see large-scale attacks happening in other places,” Cantwell said. “If we do not make the necessary investments to prevent, defend against and minimize the impact of these cyberattacks, our enemies may succeed in causing a widespread blackout and devastation to our economy.”

Cantwell is drafting legislation that would provide cybersecurity funding, develop a modern energy workforce, secure the energy supply chain and aid small utilities in protecting against cyberattacks. Last year, the Senate advanced a energy and cybersecurity bill, but it was blocked by Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI).

“I hope this year the Speaker will finally realize that protecting our electricity grid from attack and making needed investments in our energy infrastructure need serious attention,” Cantwell said.