The House Homeland Security Committee on Tuesday in approved a number of bipartisan bills, including one measure to strengthen the Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA) oversight of pipeline security.
The Pipeline Security Act (H.R. 3243) would codify TSA’s Pipeline Security Section and ensure that it works with the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) to secure the nation’s pipelines from cyber and terrorist attacks.
Approval of the bill by the panel follows a ransomware attack earlier this month against East Coast pipeline operator Colonial Pipeline, which temporarily shut down operations and reportedly paid a $5 million ransom to the perpetrators of the hack. The shut down caused fuel shortages in some regions of the East Coast and Mid-Atlantic.
The bill also requires TSA to create a security personnel strategy for pipelines to work with CISA on the strategy.
The committee also approved the CISA Cyber Exercise Act (H.R. 3223) that would establish a National Cyber Exercise Program within CISA to evaluate the National Cyber Incident Response Plans as well as related plans and strategies.
The bill’s provisions call for the exercise plan to “provide for the systematic evaluation of cyber readiness and enhance operational understanding of the cyber incident response system and relevant information sharing agreements” and also “to simulate the partial or complete incapacitation of a government or critical infrastructure network resulting from a cyber incident.”