The Subcommittee on Energy and Power held a scheduled hearing on Tuesday, May 31, 2011, at 2:00 p.m. in 2123 Rayburn House Office Building. The hearing was entitled “Protecting the Electric Grid: H.R.____, the Grid Reliability and Infrastructure Defense Act.”
In his opening statement, Rep. Fred Upton pointed out that "[w]hile NERC and industry have together made significant strides to address reliability and cybersecurity concerns, NERC's deliberative process is not set up to quickly respond to imminent threats identified by federal authorities. NERC's open stakeholder process can take months or years to develop and implement a mandatory standard."
Rep. Trent Frank's testimony today, included the following:
Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ), Rep. James Langevin (D-RI), FERC's Joseph McClelland, and DOD's Paul Stockton all made compelling cases for meaningful action to protect the country's grid from EMP and other threats. Hopefully, both the House and Senate will act quickly and in the best interests of the American people - HR 668 should be passed promptly and without being watered down.
In our technological advancement, we have now captured the electron and transported its utility into nearly every business, home and industrial endeavor throughout the civilized world.... But we have also grown profoundly dependent upon electricity and its many accoutrements. In keeping with one of humanity's most reliable hallmarks, we now find among our greatest strengths an unsettling vulnerability... EMP...Electromagnetic Pulse. Catalyzed by a major solar storm, a high altitude nuclear blast, or a non-nuclear, device induced Intentional Electromagnetic Interference, this invisible force of ionized particles has the capability to overwhelm and destroy our present electrical power grids and electrical equipment, including electronic communication networks, radio equipment, integrated circuits and computers.... The sobering reality is that this vulnerability, if left unaddressed, could have grave, societal altering consequences.... America's EMP commission began their 70 page executive summary describing a one or two missile EMP attack as one of the few threats which look as if it could defeat the US military. Dr. William Graham, the chairman of the EMP Commission, testified before the U.S. House Armed Services Committee, and stated: QUOTE 'EMP is one of a small number of threats that can hold our society at risk of catastrophic consequences....' Dr. Graham has said that a major catastrophic EMP attack on the United States could cause an estimated 70-90 percent of our nation's population to become unsustainable...