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FERC commissioner makes strong pitch for cyber security legislation
From Public Power Daily, October 16, 2012
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Commissioner John Norris called on public power officials to press Congress to enact cyber security legislation. A variety of federal agencies are working on cyber security but no one is in charge and that is "one of the biggest holes in our national security," Norris told the opening general session at APPA’s Legal Seminar in Washington, D.C., on Oct. 14. Only Congress can decide which agency should be the decision-maker on cyber security issues, he said.
Whichever agency Congress taps, lawmakers have to empower them to share cyber threat information with industry, Norris said.
Cyber and physical threats "go way beyond the scope of Section 215" of the Federal Power Act, which provides FERC’s authority over bulk electric system reliability standards, Norris said. The standard-setting process doesn’t jibe well with cyber threats, he said, noting that it can take three years to develop a standard.
The administration is working on an executive order on cyber security, but there are "significant limits to what the administration can do" without congressional action, Norris said. He noted that he has heard conflicting reports about what the administration plans to do with the executive order. Sen. Joseph Lieberman, I-Conn., has urged the administration to use the executive order to the maximum extent possible, but also said that ultimately Congress needs to act, Norris said.
Cyber security legislation seems to have stalled over the issue of whether federal authority should extend beyond imminent threats to addressing vulnerabilities, Norris said. There has been a lot of resistance from industry over paying for unspecified measures for national security, which traditionally has been paid for by the federal government, he said.
Industry has to push Congress to pass cyber security legislation, Norris said. "I ask for everyone to step up to the plate on this issue."
Read more Public Power Daily news stories.
Tue, Oct 16, 2012 09:13 AM
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