Tuesday, October 10, 2017

HR 3958 Introduced – Energy Infrastructure Security

Last week Rep. Ruppersberger (D,MD) introduced HR 3958, the Securing Energy Infrastructure Act of 2017. This bill is very similar to S 79, introduced earlier this year. This is not technically a companion bill because several additions have been made to the language of the bill, but it does serve the same purpose.

Changes Made

This bill adds some relatively minor bits of language to that found in S 79. Those include:

• Section 2(2) – Adds the definition of ‘Director’ as the DOE Director of Intelligence and Counterintelligence;
• Section 5(a) – Adds a requirement for an interim report to Congress at 180 days; and
• Section 5(c) – Adds a definition of ‘Appropriate Committees of Congress’.

Moving Forward

Neither Ruppersberger, nor his single co-sponsor {Rep. Carter (R,TX) are members of the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee to which this bill was assigned for consideration. This means that the bill is not likely to be taken up by that Committee.

There are some funds authorized by this bill ($10 million for the pilot and $1.5 million for government study and report) which makes passage of the bill more complicated. Ruppersberger and Carter are both on the House Appropriations Committee, so that problem may be lessened. There is nothing else in this bill that would engender any significant opposition if brought to a vote.


As I mentioned when a version of this bill was introduced in the 114th Congress, I think that this is potentially game changing legislation. It is one of the few bills that actually tries to address a control system security issue with something that appears to be a workable route to a solution. The fact that funding is specifically provided instead of requiring an executive agency to rob Peter to pay Paul is especially encouraging.

It will be interesting to see if either this bill or S 79 moves forward at all in this session. The both bills have been introduced early enough that there should be no procedural hurdle to their consideration. It remains to be seen if the leadership of either house really has any intention of moving legislation forward that actually does something about a cybersecurity issue.

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