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This site is the inspiration of a former reporter/photographer for one of New England's largest daily newspapers and for various magazines. The intent is to direct readers to interesting political articles, and we urge you to visit the source sites. Any comments may be noted on site or directed to KarisChaf at gmail.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Electric grid security gets renewed attention on Capitol Hill -- By Zack Colman, The Washington Examiner

Lawmakers are livid because of a Federal Energy Regulatory Commission leak of sensitive information about vulnerabilities in the electric grid to the Wall Street Journal last month. (Thinkstock Image)Congress is leading a manhunt at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

Lawmakers are livid because of a FERC leak of sensitive information about vulnerabilities in the electric grid to the Wall Street Journal last month. The article noted that a coordinated attack on nine key -- but unnamed -- substations could cause a bicoastal blackout of weeks, even months.

The acting head of FERC called publishing the story "highly irresponsible." The chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee is alarmed. The chairwoman and ranking member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee have called for an investigation.

"It doesn't take a rocket scientist to piece it together and figure out how you could really debilitate the system. We should not be providing a roadmap. We're already vulnerable enough in so many different ways," Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, the Energy Committee's top Republican, told the Washington Examiner.

It's not that the potential for such a calamity wasn't known before. That possibility was aired at least 30 years ago, and anyone with an in-depth knowledge of electric grid security likely was aware of it. But the story, coupled with an April 2013 attack at the Metcalf substation outside San Jose, Calif., is putting a spotlight on vulnerabilities that lawmakers say pose a security risk.

The California attack by gunmen already had brought fresh congressional attention to grid security, and the Wall Street Journal story added to the fervor. FERC is developing baseline standards so that some of the potentially less guarded facilities -- such as those in rural locations -- have at least minimum protections.

Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., said such actions are a good first step. But he said it's not possible to guard against "every eventuality" and ruled out a legislative fix.

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