Rep. Elaine Luria, other congressional leaders draft Pipeline Security Act to prevent future cyberattacks

Virginia

(WAVY) — A local member of Congress is pitching a plan to take a serious look at stopping cyberattacks on critical infrastructures.

Congresswoman Elaine Luria (D-Norfolk) cosponsored the Pipeline Security Act with several other members of the House of Representatives homeland security committee.

The bill was drafted in response to the ransomware attack on the Colonial Pipeline. It would require federal agencies to develop a security plan to protect against future pipeline attacks.

“They run out of the ground. We don’t often think about them and how important they are in giving us our daily needs,” Luria said.

The new legislation went before the homeland security committee Tuesday afternoon for markups.

Luria said the Transportation Security Administration oversees some transportation of goods and services which includes pipelines.

The bill would explicitly outline roles and responsibilities of the TSA and the Cyber Security and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) in reference to pipeline security.

TSA would also be responsible for developing a plan, which includes coming up with guidelines to improve security for pipeline transportation and pipeline facilities.

“It’s a very quick response to something that has been identified as a vulnerability that affects us every day at the gas pump,” Luria said.

Cybersecurity experts would make up the workforce to put the plan into action.

“The idea is to put up that firewall to prevent these kind of attacks from happening and to be able to detect any network intrusions,” Luria said.

The congresswoman said this is one of many cybersecurity vulnerabilities that need to be addressed. It’s a top priority in the age of technology.

“We will work with OMB, the Office of Management and Budget, and TSA to really determine the cost of this,” Luria said. “I think the cost of not doing this is much greater as we saw the impact last week.”

If it’s passed, the TSA will be responsible for updating its pipeline security guidelines within a year of becoming law.

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