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WASHINGTON – Legislators from a number of states are preparing to introduce bills to protect utilities from either a natural or man-made electromagnetic pulse event, or EMP, despite opposition from major utilities and the failure of the federal government to act, according to Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin.
At the National Council of State Legislatures last week in Atlanta, a number of lawmakers said they’re preparing legislation similar to a bill introduced in Maine recently did under the leadership of Rep. Andrea Boland.
Efforts are under way to press the membership of the NCSL to address the EMP issue, since the federal government has failed to take action to mitigate the potential for a catastrophic event, whether natural or man-made. An EMP event could knock out the U.S. electrical grid system and the critical infrastructures that rely on it.
Along with the national electrical grid, other critical infrastructures include telecommunications, banking and financial transactions, oil and natural gas pipelines, transportation, food and water delivery, emergency services and space systems.
In short, an EMP event could cause the collapse of society.
It was the first time the NCSL had been confronted with the EMP issue. The two resolutions considered, both calling for action by the states, were met with a positive response.
The first resolution called for Congress to pass the SHIELD Act, which would give the federal government authority to ensure the shielding of utility hardware, a move the utilities oppose.
The first resolution also called on the Department of Homeland Security to develop a new National Planning Scenario to prevent or recover from an EMP catastrophe and undertake other federal initiatives for national EMP preparedness.
“Almost all legislators agreed that this (resolution) was very important and probably should be adopted, but premature for a vote by NCSL, so it was tabled for study by the NCSL and a future vote,” Peter Vincent Pry told WND.
Pry, who was a CIA analyst and staff director of the congressionally mandated EMP Commission, also is executive director of the Task Force for National and Homeland Security, a congressional advisory group.
The second resolution called on Congress to support state-led initiatives like Maine’s recently enacted LD-131 legislation sponsored by Boland, to protect state grids from an EMP. It also asked that Congress pass no law interfering with state efforts to pass and implement such initiatives.
A majority voted in favor of the second resolution, although approving a resolution requires the support of three-quarters of the voters.
Pry said the resolutions will be taken up again at the next NCSL, slated for December. He was pleased with their reception, since it was the first time the EMP issue had been raised at the NCSL.
“We are running out of time to protect the grid,” Pry said. “The solar maximum is upon us. Millions of cyber-attacks are already happening daily, and saboteurs using AK-47s damaged grid transformers outside San Jose, California, in April.
“In July, a North Korean freighter was intercepted carrying nuclear capable missiles,” Pry said. “Connect the dots. The last time we failed to connect the dots, 9/11 happened and thousands of Americans died.”
Pry pointed out the greatest opposition to the resolutions at the NCSL was the North American Electric Reliability Corporation, which represents the state utilities, and allies such as the Rural Electric Cooperative Association.
The NERC has said that it is up to the U.S. Department of Defense to handle protection of the grid against an EMP, even though the responsibility comes under the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
The Defense Department has testified to Congress that it has a 99 percent reliance on the U.S. electrical grid system for maintaining its bases and being prepared to meet any national security emergency.
If the grid is knocked out, even temporarily, experts say such an event also would have an impact on U.S. national security preparedness.
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