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Politics Daily on Energy: Trump energy secretary makes case against mandating cybersecurity standards for pipelines

20:15  11 may  2021
20:15  11 may  2021 Source:   washingtonexaminer.com

Any reduction in Energy Department's cybersecurity resources a mistake

  Any reduction in Energy Department's cybersecurity resources a mistake DOE is a federal agency with one of the most effective cybersecurity programs, but there is more to be done.The letter reflects the senators' concerns that the Biden administration is considering downgrading the CESER billet from the assistant secretary level to make space for new assistant secretary assignments for justice and jobs. Coming on the heels of a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report highlighting the Department of Energy's (DOE) unfinished work to secure the nation's electric grid and supply chains, Secretary Granholm would be making a mistake if she were to reduce the seniority of cybersecurity leadership at the department.

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DOE Header 2020 © Provided by Washington Examiner DOE Header 2020

BROUILLETTE VERSUS CYBERSECURITY STANDARDS: Trump administration Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette says requiring pipelines to follow certain cybersecurity standards is not the answer to preventing future attacks like the one on the Colonial Pipeline.

“I am not sure another layer of regulation is going to fix the issue,” Brouillette told Josh in an interview this morning. “There are easier things we can do.”

Major US pipeline halts operations after ransomware attack

  Major US pipeline halts operations after ransomware attack WASHINGTON (AP) — The federal government is working with the Georgia-based company that shut down a major pipeline transporting fuel across the East Coast after a ransomware attack, the White House says. The government is planning for various scenarios and working with state and local authorities on measures to mitigate any potential supply issues, officials said Saturday. The attack is unlikely to affect gasoline supply and prices unless it leads to a prolonged shutdown, experts said. Colonial Pipeline did not say what was demanded or who made the demand.

Bruce Walker, a senior Energy Department official focused on cybersecurity in the Trump administration, agrees with Brouillette that mandating pipeline operators meet a certain standard won’t prevent nation state actors from evading the protections.

Think of it like this: Standards suggest commonality, and if pipeline operators all have to implement a specific safeguard, the perpetrator just has to solve for a single problem.

“I am not confident standards get you the level of resilience you need in the environment we are in today,” said Walker, who is now chief risk officer for energy at the Analysis and Resilience Center.

“When you blanketly put standards out, it doesn't encourage the buy-in and exchange of information and knowledge integral to moving forward in a world where you are dealing with nation state actors. There is no silver bullet here,” Walker told Josh.

Hacking regrets: The Colonial Pipeline and lessons to be learned

  Hacking regrets: The Colonial Pipeline and lessons to be learned Cyber risks are changing, and we need to be prepared at all levels. Inaction will be a national regret. Carolyn Kissane, Ph.D., M.A., serves as the academic director of the graduate programs in Global Affairs and Global Security, Conflict and Cyber at the NYU Center for Global Affairs and is a clinical professor. She is also the director of the NYU SPS Energy, Climate Justice and Sustainability Lab.Pano Yannakogeorgos, Ph.D., is a clinical associate professor and program director of Global Security, Conflict and Cyber NYU SPS Center for Global Affairs.

When Brouillette was deputy energy secretary under Rick Perry, the DOE created an Office of Cybersecurity, Energy Security and Emergency Response that established the Energy Department as the lead agency in coordinating response to cyberattacks.

A communication “black hole”: Brouillette said information-sharing between private companies that own the vast majority of energy infrastructure and government has since improved, but “industry has long complained the intel information flow is really a one-way street.”

“Once it reaches government, it goes into what they consider to be a black hole,” Brouillette said.

The government is right to be careful in what it shares as it protects sources and methods from the intelligence community, but it should be proactive because companies don’t always know how to recognize a cyber-breach in real time.

“It’s not always intuitive,” Brouillette said. “Attackers have become very good. Private industry is always on the defense. The attackers always play offense, so they have an advantage.”

Republicans blame Biden climate agenda for gas shortages

  Republicans blame Biden climate agenda for gas shortages Republican politicians are linking this week’s gasoline shortages and price spikes to President Joe Biden’s moves to curb fossil fuel use as part of his aggressive climate agenda. © Provided by Washington Examiner “The Colonial Pipeline crisis shows that we need more American energy to fuel our economy, not less,” said House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy of California in a tweet Tuesday. “But the Biden Administration has already canceled the Keystone Pipeline and paused oil and gas drilling, leaving our energy supply more vulnerable to attacks.

The Biden administration Energy Department has already convened representatives of the oil and gas and utility industries to share details about ransomware attacks and recommend measures to mitigate incidents, White House homeland security adviser Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall said yesterday.

The other side: A survey of 125 midstream oil and gas company officials published in January by Jones Walker LLP, cited yesterday by the legal news outlet Law360, found that while 40% of companies reported an attempted or successful data breach in the past year, only 7% updated their written security policies. The survey found that just 38% of companies will increase their cybersecurity budget this year, and that 88% of respondents don't actively exchange cybersecurity best practices with their peers. Few encrypt data or conduct test runs of attacks.

That lack of action from industry is prompting regulators and policymakers, such as FERC Chairman Richard Glick, a Democrat, to call for moving from voluntary guidelines to mandatory cyber standards (see more on that below).

Biden's executive order faces challenges trying to beef up US cybersecurity

  Biden's executive order faces challenges trying to beef up US cybersecurity The EO is designed to protect federal networks, foster information sharing between the government and private sector, and better respond to cyber incidents. But will it do the trick?A report from Owl Cybersecurity reveals the truth behind what we've known for a while: Cybersecurity is a bit weak in the US government. So weak, in fact, that the average government agency has five times greater exposure on the dark web than corporate agencies.

Welcome to Daily on Energy, written by Washington Examiner Energy and Environment Writers Josh Siegel (@SiegelScribe) and Abby Smith (@AbbySmithDC). Email jsiegel@washingtonexaminer.com or asmith@washingtonexaminer.com for tips, suggestions, calendar items, and anything else. If a friend sent this to you and you’d like to sign up, click here. If signing up doesn’t work, shoot us an email, and we’ll add you to our list.

DEMOCRATIC FERC COMMISSIONERS WANT MANDATORY CYBERSECURITY RULES: Glick and fellow Democrat Allison Clements yesterday called on Congress to establish mandatory pipeline cybersecurity standards similar to those already applied on the electricity sector.

"Simply encouraging pipelines to voluntarily adopt best practices is an inadequate response to the ever-increasing number and sophistication of malevolent cyber actors," Glick said in a statement. "Mandatory pipeline security standards are necessary to protect the infrastructure on which we all depend."

Since 2018, Glick has argued with commissioner Neil Chatterjee, then the Repubican chairman, that Congress should delegate authority to oversee mandatory cybersecurity standards to an agency such as the Energy Department with specific energy sector expertise.

Granholm: Normal service at gas pump likely by late Sunday

  Granholm: Normal service at gas pump likely by late Sunday WASHINGTON (AP) — Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm says the nation is “over the hump” on gas shortages following a ransomware cyberattack that forced a shutdown of the nation’s largest gasoline pipeline. Problems peaked Thursday night, and service should return to normal in most areas by the end of the weekend, Granholm said Friday in an interview with The Associated Press. “The good news is that gas station outages are down about 12% from the peak” as of Friday afternoon, with about 200 stations returning to service every hour, she said. “It’s still going to work its way through the system over the next few days, but we should be back to normal fairly soon.

Chatterjee reiterated the argument in an interview with Josh yesterday, but he did not sign the statement with Glick and Clements.

Chatterjee told Josh late yesterday he chose not to endorse their statement because while “mandatory standards are an important tool, we also need to recognize that getting a new framework like that in place would be a longer-term solution.”

In the short term, he said, federal agencies should assist pipelines in sharing information, assessing their cybersecurity systems, and “putting appropriate safeguards and protocols in place.”

GAS STATIONS SEE FUEL SHORTAGES: Gas stations across the southeast U.S. are reported to have run out of gasoline following the Colonial Pipeline attack and shutdown and as people are rushing to the pumps to fill up.

In five states alone — Georgia, Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Virginia — gasoline demand rose more than 40% on Monday, said GasBuddy analyst Patrick De Haan. All five states are served by the Colonial Pipeline

Nationally, gasoline demand spiked nearly 20% on Monday compared to the prior Monday, hitting levels that rival Fridays, typically the day of the week with the highest demand, GasBuddy said.

In response to the gasoline shortages, the EPA issued an emergency fuel waiver Tuesday for states affected by the pipeline shutdown.

GAS PRICES ON THE RISE: The shutdown of the Colonial Pipeline has pushed gasoline prices to $2.99 per gallon on average and could breach $3 for the first time since late 2014, according to AAA.

Buttigieg says pipes are most efficient at moving petroleum: ‘That’s why we have pipelines’

  Buttigieg says pipes are most efficient at moving petroleum: ‘That’s why we have pipelines’ Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg confirmed that the best way to move petroleum is through a pipeline. © Provided by Washington Examiner “That’s why we have pipelines,” Buttigieg told Washington Post political reporter Eugene Scott during an interview Friday. Scott asked Buttigieg about the efficiency of pipelines, reminding him that Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm previously agreed pipelines “are still the best way to move oil” and asked where Buttigieg stood on the issue.“Do you agree with that?” he asked.ALEC BALDWIN RIPS CANCEL CULTURE: ‘NO CODE.

Before the cyberattack on the pipeline, the average national gas price had already jumped in recent weeks, as some level of increase is normal this time of year ahead of Memorial Day, the unofficial start of the summer driving season

But gasoline demand is rising along the East Coast as drivers fill up their tanks in anticipation of a supply shortage due to the closure of the Colonial Pipeline.

Tom Kloza, the global head of energy analysis at Oil Price Information Service, attributed the price increase to panic among drivers.

"Markets are calming down; consumers need to do likewise," Kloza tweeted.

WHO DONE IT: The hackers behind the cyberattack on Colonial Pipeline said they didn't intend to cause such a disaster and were merely trying to make some money by selling their virus software.

The FBI confirmed yesterday that DarkSide ransomware was responsible for the Colonial Pipeline attack. Darkside is a group of organized hackers selling software hacking tools to other criminals to carry out attacks on wealthy organizations and entities, according to the cybersecurity firm Cybereason.

Biden said yesterday that "so far" there has been no evidence of involvement by Russian intelligence in the cyberattack but suggested the country "might have some responsibility" to deal with ransomware attacks, noting "there is evidence the actor's ransomware is in Russia."

DarkSide denied the link to Russia.

“We are apolitical. We do not participate in geopolitics,” the group said in a message posted on a hidden collective of internet sites only accessible by a specialized web browser, according to reporting by Bloomberg. “Our goal is to make money and not creating problems for society. From today, we introduce moderation and check each company that our partners want to encrypt to avoid social consequences in the future.”

Daily on Energy: Advisers at odds with Biden officials over nuclear and carbon capture

  Daily on Energy: Advisers at odds with Biden officials over nuclear and carbon capture Subscribe today to the Washington Examiner magazine and get Washington Briefing: politics and policy stories that will keep you up to date with what's going on in Washington. SUBSCRIBE NOW: Just $1.00 an issue! © Provided by Washington Examiner DOE Header 2020 A RIFT: The White House’s environmental justice advisers are at odds with top Biden administration officials over which technologies the federal government should invest in as part of its aggressive climate agenda.

POLITICAL REPERCUSSIONS: Biden contends the ransomware cyberattack that shut down Colonial Pipeline is another reason Congress should pass his $2.25 trillion infrastructure spending package.

During remarks to address the country's economic recovery amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Biden claimed his $2.25 trillion infrastructure and clean energy package would help "safeguard our critical infrastructure" from similar attacks in the future.

Democratic Sen. Ed Markey of Massachusetts, meanwhile, warned of the prospect of more cyber attacks on pipelines, and suggested the U.S. is over-reliant on them for delivery of fuels.

“The federal inability to prevent and effectively respond to cyberattacks turns our pipeline system into a risk for communities and an increasingly vulnerable component of our electricity system,” Markey said in a statement.

Sen. John Barrasso of Wyoming, top Republican of the Energy Committee, countered that the cyberattack “underscores just how important energy pipelines are to our economy and our national security.”

“The Biden administration wants to kill oil and natural gas pipelines. We need more pipelines not fewer,” Barrasso said in a statement.

LATEST ON INFRASTRUCTURE TALKS: Biden this week launched a new round of infrastructure talks with Congress in a bid to secure a deal on a package by this summer, reports the Washington Examiner’s chief congressional correspondent Susan Ferrechio.

Sen. Joe Manchin, a key centrist Democrat, met with Biden at the White House yesterday to talk about Biden’s proposal.

On Wednesday, Biden will meet with the top bipartisan House and Senate leaders. Biden also met Monday with Sen. Tom Carper, a Delaware Democrat, and will meet Thursday with Shelley Moore Capito, a West Virginia Republican, as well as five additional GOP lawmakers including Barrasso. Carper and Capito are two top infrastructure negotiators who lead the Environment and Public Works Committee.

What’s Manchin thinking? But many obstacles remain, including Manchin, who opposes Biden’s plan to pay for part of the massive bill by increasing the corporate tax rate from the current 21% to 28%. Manchin told reporters he met with Biden for “quite a while” and said he spoke to the president “about everything.” Manchin said he discussed how to pay for the infrastructure bill, but didn’t provide specific details.

Democrats are likely to try to pass the bill using a budgetary tactic called reconciliation. Reconciliation allows certain legislation to pass with only 51 votes instead of 60, but Democrats have a bare majority that requires Manchin’s backing on the bill.

MASSIVE RENEWABLES BUILD IS A ‘NEW NORMAL,’ IEA SAYS: Renewable energy will dominate the electricity capacity added worldwide in the next few years, signaling a “new normal” in which wind and solar are king, the International Energy Agency says.

Countries added 280 gigawatts of renewable energy in 2020, the largest year-on-year increase since 1999, the IEA said in a report released this morning. That amount of electricity is equal to the entire installed power capacity of the group of 10 Southeast Asian nations known as ASEAN, which includes the Philippines, Indonesia, Vietnam, and Singapore.

The IEA expects the world to add just as much renewables in each of the next two years. In total, renewable energy, predominantly solar and wind, will account for 90% of new power capacity expansion worldwide.

More on the report in Abby’s story posted this morning.

VINEYARD WIND APPROVED: The Biden administration has greenlit the 800 megawatt wind project in federal waters off the coast of Massachusetts, culminating a review process that saw delays and roadblocks during the Trump administration.

The Interior Department formally authorized the project’s construction this morning, and Vineyard Wind could begin delivering power to roughly 400,000 homes on the East Coast in late 2022.

“The approval of this project is an important step toward advancing the Administration's goals to create good-paying union jobs while combating climate change and powering our nation,” said Interior Secretary Deb Haaland in a statement.

Vineyard Wind’s approval comes after the Biden administration took several steps in late March to support increased development of offshore wind power, including establishing a goal to deploy 30 gigawatts of offshore wind energy by 2030.

In a news release, the Interior Department said it has begun an environmental review for two other offshore wind projects since Biden’s inauguration, as well as pursued additional leasing opportunities off the coast of New York and New Jersey.

The Rundown

The Detroit News Biden to visit Michigan next week ahead of electric F-150 reveal

Axios New project tracks natural gas flaring using space data

Calendar

10:30 a.m. The House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Environment and Climate Change Subcommittee will hold a remote hearing on Superfund provisions in the “CLEAN Future Act.”

WEDNESDAY | MAY 12

10 a.m. 301 Russell. The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee will hold a hearing to consider the nominations of Shannon Estenoz to be the Interior Secretary’s assistant secretary of Fish and Wildlife and Parks, Radhika Fox to be the EPA’s assistant administrator for water, and Michal Freedhoff to be the EPA’s assistant administrator for chemical safety.

THURSDAY | MAY 13

10 a.m. 366 Dirksen. The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will hold a hearing to examine offshore energy development in federal waters. It will also consider the nomination of Tommy Beaudreau to be deputy secretary of the Interior.

Tags: Energy and Environment, Daily on Energy

Original Author: Josh Siegel, Abby Smith

Original Location: Daily on Energy: Trump energy secretary makes case against mandating cybersecurity standards for pipelines

Daily on Energy: Advisers at odds with Biden officials over nuclear and carbon capture .
Subscribe today to the Washington Examiner magazine and get Washington Briefing: politics and policy stories that will keep you up to date with what's going on in Washington. SUBSCRIBE NOW: Just $1.00 an issue! © Provided by Washington Examiner DOE Header 2020 A RIFT: The White House’s environmental justice advisers are at odds with top Biden administration officials over which technologies the federal government should invest in as part of its aggressive climate agenda.

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