On October 30, 2013 Representative Trent Franks introduced a new bill: The Critical Infrastructure Protection Act (H.R. 3410 – read it here). The bill was co-sponsored by Representative Pete Sessions. The bill was referred to the House Committee on Homeland Security. If the history of grid protection legislation is any indication, the bill may die in committee like all the others. In a statement, Mr. Franks said:
“The Department of Homeland Security has the specific responsibility to secure the key resources and critical infrastructure in the United States, to include power production, generation and distribution systems. Yet, eleven years after this job description was enacted our nation’s most critical infrastructure – and the systems that more than 300 Million Americans depend upon every day for basic activities – are still very vulnerable to large scale blackouts.”
The Critical Infrastructure Protection Act bill is short and sweet. All it would do is require the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to:
1. Include the threat of EMP (electromagnetic pulse) events in national planning scenarios;
2. Educate owners and operators of critical infrastructure, emergency planners, and emergency responders at all levels of government of the threat of EMP events;
3. Conduct research and development to mitigate the consequences of EMP events;
4. Prepare and submit to the Committee on Homeland Security of the House of Representatives and the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs of the Senate a comprehensive plan to protect and prepare the critical infrastructure of the American homeland against EMP events, including from acts of terrorism;
5. Finally, to update this plan twice a year and submit the updates to the Committee.
The bill would require the Department of Homeland Security to report back to Congress on their progress 180 days after the law is enacted.