A bipartisan group of more than a dozen House lawmakers have reintroduced legislation to defend pipelines against cyberattacks, with the bill coming on the heels of the devastating ransomware attack that forced the shutdown of Colonial Pipeline.
The Pipeline Security Act would codify the responsibility of both the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency’s (CISA) responsibility for securing pipelines against threats. The effort is being led by Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.).
It would also require TSA to update pipeline security guidelines and conduct risk assessments, create a personnel strategy for staffing its Pipeline Security Section and improve congressional oversight of TSA’s pipeline efforts.
The legislation was previously introduced by Cleaver in 2019, but it failed to get a vote in the House.
It is being rolled out again a week after the Colonial Pipeline, which provides 45 percent of the East Coast’s fuel supply, shut down operations to protect operational controls against a ransomware attack on its IT system, causing gas shortages in multiple states.
The pipeline resumed operations earlier this week after Colonial paid the hackers — who President Bidensaid were based in Russia — the equivalent of almost $5 million to regain access to its networks.
“It’s become clear that cyber-attacks on our critical infrastructure are national security and economic threats to the homeland,” Cleaver said in a statement Friday. “The recent ransomware attack on the Colonial Pipeline, which caused the shutdown of thousands of miles of gas pipeline along the East Coast, was just the latest example of why Congress must act swiftly to harden our critical infrastructure and bolster our cybersecurity capabilities.”