Sunday, March 8, 2020

S 2657 Considered in Senate – Comprehensive Energy Bill

On Thursday the Senate began consideration of S 2657, the Advanced Geothermal Innovation Leadership Act. This bill is being used as a vehicle for Sen Murkowski (R,AK) to bring to the floor of the Senate a comprehensive energy bill. On Teusday she offered SA 1407 (pg S1351 or pg 49 of document), the amendment that would serve as substitute language for S 2657. Then on Thursday she offered a modified version of that language that will be considered as SA 1407. The Senate is currently scheduled to vote on SA 1407 on Monday at 5:00 pm EDT.


There are a number of cybersecurity provisions included in the bill and most of them have come from previously introduced legislation. The list below shows the ones that I have identified (pg numbers are for Thursday’s Congressional Record pages):

§1005. Smart Building Acceleration. (S 2447) pg S 1526
§1808. ARPA–E reauthorization. (S 2714) pg S 1564
§2201. Incentives for advanced cybersecurity technology investment. (S 2256) pg S1570
§2202. Rural and municipal utility advanced cybersecurity grant and
technical assistance program. (S 2256) pg S1570
§2203. State energy security plans. pg S1571
§2204. Enhancing grid security through
public-private partnerships. (S 2095) pg S 1571
§2205. Enhanced grid security. (S 1241) pg S 1527

I have not had a chance to review these sections in detail to see if any changes had been made to the original language.


As with any major piece of legislation being considered by the Senate a large number of amendments have been offered over the last three legislative days and more are expected on Monday. Only a very small number of these amendments will be considered on the floor. A complete list of the offered amendment can be found here, here and here. Amendments that may be of interest include:

SA 1428 Whistleblower protection for employees responsible for ensuring the reliability, resilience, and security of the electric grid – pg S 1413;
SA 1455 Cyber Sense Program – pg S 1426;
SA 1480 Internet of Things (DIGIT Act) – pg S 1480;

Moving Forward

S 2657 will probably pass with bipartisan support this coming week. What is not clear is how many Democrats will find enough ‘objectionable’ content to require a vote against the bill. If there is a large enough Nay vote the bill will not be taken up by the House. A strong bipartisan vote will ensure early consideration by the House. There is a good chance that if the Senate outcome falls somewhere in between the House will take up the bill and amend it into passable form.

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