Immediate Action Needed!!
TIME SENSITIVE: Physical Security of the Grid. Due March 10, 2020
The most important thing people can do: Give a copy of this letter and materials to your Senator or Representative and request that they write a letter to FERC to request that FERC ensure that the physical security requirements for the electric grid are effective. If we can get a few members of Congress to write such letters before March 10, it could force FERC to take a hard look at this rather than just blow it off – which they tend to do.
Individuals can also file their own “Motion to Intervene.” You can do this as a letter to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and put a subject line “Motion to Intervene in Docket No. EL20-21-000.” This question here is whether or not Critical Infrastructure Protection (CIP) Standard CIP-14-2 (Physical Security) is effective and whether FERC should order that improvements be made. You have to register with FERC’s e-filing system to file a Motion to Intervene. You can also file by mail as long as it is received by March 2, 2020. There is no cost to register or file a Motion to Intervene.
Some of the main problems we have with the physical security standard are:
- The standard does not consider attacks on multiple targets (such as 9/11/2001). FERC has admitted that: “Reliability Standard CIP-014-1 does not require responsible entities to assess the criticality of Bulk-Power System facilities based on a simultaneous attack on multiple facilities.” See Order Denying Rehearing in Docket RM14-15-001. Page 4 (April 23, 2015).
- The Physical Security Standard’s “applicability” leaves unprotected large swaths of the critical components of the electric grid which are susceptible to a coordinated terrorist attack, including:
- Generation plants
- Transmission lines
- Most transformer stations and substations
- Some control facilities
- The “requirements” of CIP-14-2 are riddled with loopholes to the point where it is covers few facilities and the loopholes render this largely a voluntary standard, not a mandatory standard. The only requirement is that those few facilities who are subject to it have a notebook labelled “Physical Security Plan” with some certain papers of dubious value. It makes no requirement whatsoever that physical security plans against these few facilities be effective or approved by any regulatory authority. CIP-14-2 leaves out the majority of facilities in the bulk power system.
- All of the requirements for “verification” of risk assessments, “verification” of threat assessments and “review” of the physical security plan could be conducted by a peer utility who reciprocally does the same for their “reviewer.” This creates a conflict of interest and can incent reviewers to “go easy, because they are doing us next week.” Also, there are loopholes in which companies could choose not to accept any recommendations for improvements – or even have recommendations made in the first place.
- There is only one place in the standard (requirement 6) where there is even a mention of qualifications for reviewers of physical security plans. However, loopholes in this requirement make it possible to avoid any expert opinions. By the way, physical security plans don’t need to be approved. They simply need to be “reviewed.”
- There is no regulatory review or determination on the effectiveness of any physical security plan.
In a nutshell, the industry did not want a physical security standard. It was forced on them, but the catch is, they got to write it. They made it as easy as possible, covering the least amount of facilities possible. This weak physical security standard is the only thing standing between your family and a large-scale long-term blackout caused by a coordinated terrorist attack.
Other Actions You Can Take
- Get Thomas Popik Nominated to FERC!
- Get THIS ARTICLE to your state Public Utilities Commission and your State Utility Consumer Advocate and urge them to write to FERC docket No. AD19-18-000 and request a public hearing. Find your State Public Utilities Commission HERE. Find your State Utility Consumer Advocate HERE. (For an example letter, click HERE.)
- Write to your Congressional Representative and tell them to join the Congressional EMP Caucus!
- Print out THIS REPORT and send to it your elected officials
- Bring this letter to your local emergency manager and get involved in preparing your community!
- Emergency Managers: The NDAA for FY 2020 contains a key provision for the National Guard: Section 1720. Get with your National Guard contacts and work the issue of emergency preparedness for a long-term power outage!
Take Action to Secure the Grid
The Secure the Grid Coalition believes that a two-pronged approach is necessary to protect the United States from a catastrophic long-term power outage.
First, the federal government must fix the failed current regulatory scheme which has proven unable to protect the self-regulated electric grid. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) either does not have the power – or the will – to force the industry to protect the grid and intervention is required. Congress can fix the regulatory scheme through legislation. The President has issued Executive Order 13865 which implements some of the recommendations of the Congressional EMP Commission. (See the Chairman’s Report of the Congressional EMP Commission for more details.) Also, the NDAA for FY2020 codifies some of these provisions. But it is going to take a lot of work to make sure the federal agencies fulfill their obligations and the order still does not fix the failed regulatory system – only Congress can do that.
Second, we need to prepare our communities for catastrophic disasters by building a culture of preparedness in the United States. We need Congress to reintroduce and pass the bipartisan H.Res 762 from the 112th Congress (“Expressing the sense of the House of Representatives regarding community-based civil defense and power generation”). This resolution would send a message to the 35,000 towns and cities across the United States that we need to build a culture of preparedness. This resolution:
- encourages every community to develop its own “civil defense program” working with citizens, leaders, and institutions, ranging from local fire halls, schools, and faith-based organizations, to create sustainable local infrastructure and planning capacity, so that it might mitigate high-impact scenarios and be better prepared to survive and recover from these worst-case disaster scenarios and be better able to affordably and sustainably meet the needs of the community in times of peace and tranquility;
- encourages every citizen to develop an individual emergency plan to prepare for the absence of government assistance for extended periods;
- encourages each local community to foster the capability of providing at least 20 percent of its own critical needs, such as local power generation, food, and water, while protecting local infrastructure whenever possible from the threats that threaten centralized infrastructure; and to do so with the urgency and importance inherent in an all-of-nation civil defense program developed by citizens and their local communities; and
- encourages state governments and federal agencies to support the ability of local communities to become stronger, self-reliant, and better able to assist neighboring communities in times of great need.
If we as a nation can do these two things, we will be stronger, more prepared and more resilient. But do not wait for the government to act. Work to prepare your community NOW!
What You Can Do to Secure the Grid:
Write to your representative and ask that they:
- Join the bipartisan Congressional Electromagnetic Pulse Caucus and sponsor and/or support legislation to harden the electric grid against known threats such as electromagnetic pulse (EMP), geomagnetic disturbance (GMD) or “space weather”, cyberattack, physical attack and extreme weather.
- Reintroduce and support the bipartisan H.Res 762 from the 112th Congress (“Expressing the sense of the House of Representatives regarding community-based civil defense and power generation”).
Is your representative a member of the Electromagnetic Pulse Caucus? If you don’t know, you should ask them to join as I have (click here for my letter to Congresswoman Ann Kuster).
If you don’t know who your representative is, go to the U.S. House of Representatives’ website by clicking here and enter in your zip code.
You can also write, call or email the staff of the two Co-Chairs of the Electromagnetic Pulse Caucus:
Co-Chair: Rep. Doug Lamborn
2402 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
Co-Chair: Rep. Yvette D. Clarke
2058 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
Charlyn Stanberry: email@example.com
What You Can Do to Secure Your Community:
Your community needs a plan for a long-term power outage. Nationally, there is no plan. Here is what we recommend:
- Meet with your local emergency manager, mayor or town officials. Ask: “What is our plan for a long-term power outage where no outside assistance is available?” If they don’t have an answer, show them this article to start.
- If your community has a Community Emergency Response Team (CERT), consider joining or supporting them.
- If your community does not, have a CERT team, ask your local emergency manager to support starting one.