Washington (March 26, 2014)— Today Rep. Henry A. Waxman (D-Calif.) and Sen. Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) introduced the Grid Reliability and Infrastructure Defense (GRID) Act in the House and Senate, respectively. The bill provides the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) with the authority it needs to effectively address physical, cyber, electromagnetic pulse, and other threats to and vulnerabilities of the electric grid. In 2010, the original GRID Act was reported out of the Energy and Commerce Committee by a vote of 47 to 0. It then passed the House by voice vote, but the Senate did not act on the legislation.
“Unless we act now, the United States will continue to remain vulnerable to the 21st century cyberarmies preparing to wage war on our banking, health care, and defense systems by knocking out America’s electricity grid,” said Sen. Markey, original House co-author of the GRID Act. “The GRID Act will help secure our nation’s electrical grid against devastating damage from physical or cyber terrorist attacks or from natural disasters. Previous passage of the GRID Act in the House on a bipartisan basis is testament to our ability to reach consensus on this critical national security issue. I thank Rep. Waxman for his leadership in the House, and look forward to working with my colleagues in the Senate to take action on this important issue.”
“The security of the electric grid is a critical and urgent issue,” said Rep. Waxman. “We will remain vulnerable to attacks that could cause devastating blackouts until security is increased and regulatory gaps are closed. The GRID Act provides regulators the authority they need to ensure that the grid is adequately protected.”
In May 2013, Sen. Markey and Rep. Waxman released a report detailing how the nation’s electric grid remains highly vulnerable to attacks or other physical threats. The report indicates that the lengthy, industry-driven process by which grid security standards are set results in long delays and haphazard implementation of the voluntary security recommendations the industry refuses to make mandatory.