Friday, January 18, 2019

HR 370 Introduced – Pipeline Security

Last week Rep. Upton (R,MI) introduced HR 370, the Pipeline and LNG Facility Cybersecurity Preparedness Act. This bill is nearly identical to the version of HR 5175 that was reported in the House last session. That bill never made it to the floor of the House for consideration. The bill would provide the Department of Energy with some level of responsibility for pipeline security (specifically including cybersecurity) but without any regulatory authority in the area. The respective responsibilities of DHS/TSA and DOT/PHMSA in the area would not be affected.

Moving Forward

The Republicans have yet to announce their committee rosters yet so it is too early to tell if Upton will be back on the Energy and Commerce Committee, the Committee to which this bill was referred for consideration. His single co-sponsor {Rep. Loebsack (D,IA)} is a member of that Committee so this bill may end up being considered in Committee.

There is a lesser chance that the bill will move directly to the floor of the House for consideration as so many bills reintroduced in the previous session are. If Upton were really hoping for that to happen, he probably should have had Loebsack listed as the sponsor of the bill.

This bill will almost certainly be approved with substantial bipartisan support. The modifications made in the marked-up version of the previous bill were designed to throw bones to the other committees (Transportation and Homeland Security) that might object to the bill overstepping into their areas of oversight. Additionally, the revised language now seen in this ‘original bill’ easy any potential industry concerns by clarifying that the tools and procedures developed by DOE under direction of this bill {in §2(3) and §2(6)} would be available for ‘voluntary use’ by industry and not mandated.

If this bill makes it through the backroom processes in the House and is considered on the floor, it will be sent to the Senate with bipartisan support.

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