Democrat pushes for pipeline reliability standards
Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Ill.) is pushing for the creation of an organization that would seek to set both physical and cybersecurity reliability standards for pipelines.
According to a draft of forthcoming legislation that was first shared with The Hill, Rush wants to create a reliability organization that’s run through the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).
This reliability organization would be stakeholder-driven, according to Rush’s office, meaning it would be largely made up of industry.
But the standards would have to be approved by FERC — an independent agency that regulates interstate energy transmission. Currently, the commission is comprised of three Democratic commissioners and two Republicans.
The reliability organization would also consult with the Energy Department and Transportation Security Administration.
And it would be able to penalize those that violate the standards.
“It is long past time that we had enforceable reliability standards for energy pipelines, just as we do for the electric grid,” Rush, who chairs the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Energy Subcommittee, said in a statement.
It’s not clear whether the bill would go far as stand-alone legislation, but Rush could push for its inclusion in a larger package or must-pass bill.
It comes after high-profile incidents this year involving energy reliability.
For instance, a May cyberattack on Colonial Pipeline, which provides fuel to many East Coast states, led to consumer panic buying that in turn caused fuel shortages.
Rush’s office also said the legislation is an attempt to combat issues such as the power outages that resulted from a winter freeze in Texas in February.
“The Energy Product Reliability Act is a necessary and prudent response to the devastation from the Texas winter storm and other recent weather and cybersecurity disasters that have highlighted the dire need for standards for our fuel system,” Rush added in the statement. “All Americans deserve reliable access to energy, and the Energy Product Reliability Act helps deliver on that promise.”