September 18, 2021

Volume XI, Number 261

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House of Reps, TSA Tackle Cybersecurity in the Energy Industry

This week, the House of Representatives approved three measures aimed at improving cybersecurity in the energy industry:

  • Energy Emergency Leadership Act. This Bill requires the Secretary of Energy to assign energy emergency and cybersecurity responsibilities to an Assistant Secretary, including responsibilities regarding infrastructure and cybersecurity.

  • Enhancing Grid Security through Public-Private Partnerships Act. This Bill directs the Secretary of Energy to implement a program that facilitates and encourages public-private partnerships to address and mitigate physical and cybersecurity risks of electric utilities.

  • Cyber Sense Act of 2021. This Bill encourages coordination between the Department of Energy and electric utilities. It also requires the Department of Energy to test products and technologies intended for use in the bulk power system.

These measures, which will now move to the Senate, are in response to the slew of recent cybersecurity attacks against critical U.S. infrastructure, including the ransomware attacks on Colonial Pipeline and JBS USA. You can find our previous post on the Colonial Pipeline cyberattack and the Federal Government’s response here.

In addition to the recent legislative efforts, the Department of Homeland Security’s (“DHS”) Transportation Security Administration (“TSA”) announced on July 20 a new security directive requiring owners and operators of critical pipelines transporting hazardous liquids and natural gas to implement urgently needed protections against cyber intrusions. The directive is in response to the “ongoing cybersecurity threat to pipeline systems” and follows the security directive issued by the TSA in May, immediately following the Colonial Pipeline cyberattack.

The new directive requires owners and operators of critical pipelines to develop and implement a cybersecurity contingency and recovery plan and conduct a cybersecurity architecture design review. The first security directive requires critical pipeline owners and operators to: 1) report confirmed and potential cybersecurity incidents to the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (“CISA”); 2) designate a Cybersecurity Coordinator to be available 24/7; 3) review current practices; and 4) identify any gaps and related remediation measures to address cyber-related risks and report the results to TSA an CISA within 30 days.

©2021 Pierce Atwood LLP. All rights reserved.National Law Review, Volume XI, Number 203
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About this Author

Kayla Grant  energy regulatory attorney Portland ME
Associate

Kayla Grant is an experienced energy regulatory attorney with a strong interest in energy policy and regulation. Kayla capitalizes on her prior experience as an attorney advisor to Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) administrative law judges to advocate for clients in utility ratemaking and electric transmission matters. This includes advising clients on issues related to FERC jurisdiction, cost-of-service and formula transmission rates, electric utility tariffs, and RTO/ISO markets. Kayla also assists clients with North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) Reliability...

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Randall S. Rich Pierce Atwood Partner DC Energy Energy Infrastructure Project Development & Finance
Partner

Randall Rich is the Leader of our Energy Practice Group and the partner-in-charge of the Washington, DC office. Throughout his over 38 years of experience, beginning in the Office of General Counsel of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and continuing for more than 23 years at Bracewell, LLP, Randy always strives to form close personal bonds with clients as well as trusting relationships with both regulators and his colleagues in the energy bar. He gains an intimate understanding of the business and legal needs of clients by working for extended periods in their offices, hand-...

202- 530-6424
Valerie L. Green Pierce Atwood Partner DC  Energy Energy Infrastructure Project Development  Finance Litigation
Partner

Valerie Green focuses her practice on natural gas, electricity, renewable energy, and regulatory and compliance issues involving the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and other administrative agencies. Clients rely on Valerie’s responsiveness, attention to detail, and deep knowledge of regulatory process and precedent in proceedings involving administrative litigation, compliance audits and investigations, and in appellate litigation before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. Valerie’s focus on coalition and consensus building in situations involving...

202-530-6415
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