Review – HR 6084 Introduced – Energy Product Reliability

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Last month, Rep Rush (D,IL) introduced HR 6084, the Energy Product Reliability Act. The bill would require the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to establish an Energy Product Reliability Organization that would to for energy pipelines what NERC has done for the national electric grid. No funding is authorized by this bill.

Rust is a member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee to which this bill was assigned for consideration. This means that there should be sufficient influence to see this bill considered in Committee. I suspect that there would be substantial opposition to this bill from Republicans that generally resist comprehensive regulatory requirements such as those foreseen by this legislation. The bill could pass out of Committee because of Democratic control

I doubt that this bill would make it to the floor of the House because of opposition from two different Committee Chairs, the Homeland Security Committee and the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. The new authority for EPRO’s would cut into their separate influence over cybersecurity and pipeline security respectively.

Commentary

The requirement for the EPRO to consult with TSA And DOE on cybersecurity standards is more than a little odd. The DOE’s Office of Cybersecurity, Energy Security, and Emergency Response (CESER), certainly retains the preeminent government authority (the knowledge based definition of that term) on energy cybersecurity, TSA retains the regulatory authority to oversee security (including, by default, cybersecurity). Thus the ‘consult with’ requirement of §2(e)(4) should probably be changed to a ‘coordinate with’ mandate, unless the legislation were to remove TSA responsibility for security oversight of energy pipelines. Of course, that is not likely to happen (see paragraph immediately above).

TSA has been working with the pipeline industry on voluntary physical security standards for quite some time and CESER also has a background in physical pipeline security processes. Thus, it would certainly be appropriate, at a minimum, to change that paragraph to read:

(4) CONSULTATION.—The Energy Product Reliability Organization shall consult with the Administrator of the Transportation Security Administration and the Secretary of Energy in developing energy product reliability standards relating to cybersecurity for energy pipelines.

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