Saturday, June 4, 2022

CRS Reports – Week of 5-28-22

 This week there were four reports from the Congressional Research Service (CRS) that are of interest here:

Carbon Dioxide Pipelines: Safety Issues (IN11944),

Sifting Domestic Terrorism from Domestic Violent Extremism and Hate Crime (IN10299),

Department of Defense Counter-Unmanned Aircraft Systems (IF11426),

U.S. Electricity Sector: Summer 2022 Outlook (IN11943)

CO2 Pipelines

This report looks at a significant potential increase in the number of CO2 pipelines that are designed to take CO2 from the point of origination to the point where it is pumped into the ground as part of the process of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. As with most pipelines, there is some level of local opposition to the siting of these pipelines due to public safety concerns. While CO2 is not toxic, there are safety issues with any compressed gas pipelines. As with any non-oxygen atmospheric chemicals there are potential asphyxiation hazards with any large scale release.

The report notes that PHMSA recently announced that they were initiating a rulemaking on CO2 pipeline safety. It then goes on to suggest that the conflict between the need for CO2 sequestration and public safety concerns many need attention by Congress.

Domestic Terrorism

This report looks at the linguistic and legalistic differences between the terms ‘domestic terrorism’, ‘domestic violent extremism’, and ‘hate crimes’. With the recent increase in incidents like the active shooter attack in Buffalo the technical and practical differences between these terms will likely become an issue for Congress. Ultimately, they will end up having implications for personnel responsible for providing security (both physical and cyber) for critical infrastructure.

Counter UAS

The increasing sophistication and success in the use of armed unmanned aerial systems (UAS) in in conflicts around the world is certainly a harbinger of the use of similar systems for attacks by criminals and terrorists on critical infrastructure facilities. While there are still significant legal restrictions on taking actions to interfere with UAS flights in the airspace of the United States, the military’s development of weapons to take down such vehicles will certainly become important to those responsible for protecting critical infrastructure.

Electric Sector Outlook

This report looks at potential disruptions to the delivery of electricity in large parts of the Unites States this summer. A combination of increased temperatures, increased use of electric vehicles, and a reduction in the number of coal plants on-line, look like they are going to set the stage for rolling blackouts and unscheduled service interruptions. Oh, and just toss in the potential threat from Russian cyberattacks in retaliation for US support of Ukraine, and it looks like it may be a real long hot summer.

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