Letters to Legislators from Align Act

As a resident of the great State of Texas, I’m very worried about the security of our electric grid. I have become aware of this horrific vulnerability through a documentary entitled ‘Grid Down, Power Up’, and I’m deeply concerned about the lack of action from our national and state leadership in this area.

I was horrified to learn from the film that the recent Texas power outage caused by cold weather brought that state less than five minutes away from an extended grid-down event that could have left 29 million Texans without power for months. Even Texas’ relatively short outage killed more than 240 people and resulted in nearly $100 billion in economic losses. Worse yet, the Texas legislature had the opportunity to pass grid security legislation to harden its grid during three successive legislative sessions and chose NOT to do so each time, instead listening to utility industry lobbyists’ claims that it was unnecessary and too costly.

The Grid Down, Power Up film made it clear to me that (1) unfortunately, the blame is not just on Texas’ politicians – the nation has failed as a whole, (2) hardening the grid against known hazards, including electromagnetic pulse (EMP) is NECESSARY, (3) that it is NOT too costly, and (4) that the costs of inaction are potentially catastrophic.

Worse yet, a recent episode of CBS News’ 60 Minutes 1/ revealed that while there have been more than 700 physical attacks against our grid in the last decade, Dr. Liz Sherwood-Randall – President Biden’s Homeland Security Advisor – confirmed that “no one is in charge” of protecting the grid and that the federal government lacks the authority to mandate utilities to correct its vulnerabilities.

Therefore, I urge you (at both the federal and state level) to pursue the following actions:

— Watch this important documentary & review our comprehensive website at www.GridDownPowerUp.com to understand the threats to our critical electric grid as much as possible. [This site includes links to numerous additional websites that feature volumes of government-sponsored and private sector reports on grid security.]

— Demand that the federal agencies tasked in Presidential Executive Order 13865 of March 26, 2019, 2/ (Coordinating National Resilience to Electromagnetic Pulses), and through section 1740 of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2020 3/ execute their associated tasks. [Note that for these agencies to succeed, Congress must adequately fund them and hold frequent hearings on progress or lack thereof. Funding should be drawn from the recently passed $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Bill]

— Demand that the President issue a new Presidential Executive Order followed by a Department of Energy Emergency Order to mandate protection of the entire electric grid against all known threats with a single leader in charge. [These orders must also require that Chinese and other foreign equipment (including high voltage transformers, smart meters, and inverters) be identified, along with the use being made of it in the grid; examined immediately for hardware and software vulnerabilities; and replaced as soon as possible with equipment from reliable suppliers and not our enemies.]

— Pass federal-level legislation mandating that all entities, public or private sector, that are part of the critical electric infrastructure take reasonably prudent actions needed to address cybersecurity, physical security, EMP/GMD protection, and hardening for severe weather events. [Similar to the requirements imposed on the financial sector by the Sarbanes–Oxley Act of 2002, such measures need to be certified periodically and publicly, as well as by state and federal authorities, by the Chief Executive Officer of each such critical electric infrastructure entity. And there must be civil and criminal penalties for false certification or failure to submit these.] [Seek out U.S. Senators Ron Johnson (R-WI) & Edward Markey (D-MA) and U.S. Representatives Doug Lamborn (R-CO) & Yvette Clarke (D-NY) and join the bipartisan Congressional EMP Caucus as part of this effort.]

— Work with the FBI InfraGard National Disaster Resiliency Council (NDRC) 4/ to craft legislation to authorize and appropriate approximately $10.9 billion for EMP protection of the water, wastewater, food production, transportation, healthcare, emergency services, communications, data, and financial system infrastructure so that non-grid infrastructures are protected before an EMP event. [Funding should be drawn from the recently passed $1.2 Infrastructure Bill]

— As recommended to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) 5/ on September 15, 2021, and the Secretary of Energy Advisory Board (SEAB) on October 28, 2021, create a Special Task Force to determine the potential threat posed by Chinese transformers and other grid control and monitoring systems and components to both the Bulk Electric System (BPS) and the Distribution Grid, and particularly concerning those portions of the grid that support offsite power to nuclear power generation facilities.

— As recommended by the Foundation for Resilient Societies 6/ (in February 2011), by the U.S. Air Force Electromagnetic Task Force 7/(in August 2019), by the American public 8/ (this year), and to the Secretary of Energy Advisory Board (SEAB) 9/ (on April 19, 2022) task the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to MANDATE the protection, monitoring, and use of High-Reliability Unattended Backup Power technologies to protect spent nuclear fuel and prevent fatalities and extensive radiation contamination.

— Demand that the NRC work with DOE and the nuclear power industry to conduct live tests of reactor safety systems to assess nuclear site capabilities to contend with simultaneous loss of onsite and offsite power. [Specify tests at 100% full power and 110% full power to ensure that automatic control systems for Emergency Diesel Generators actuate within 10 seconds and continue to operate until the reactor core is cooled to a safe temperature. Moreover, demand on-site storage (rotated or preserved by additive) of at least one year of diesel fuel for existing Emergency Diesel Generators.]

— As recommended to the Secretary of Energy Advisory Board (SEAB) (on January 25, 2022, 10/ and again on April 19, 2022) 11/, order the DOE National Laboratories to establish a Security Technical Implementation Group (STIG) to work with industry to address two massive cyber vulnerabilities to the electric grid: (1) Cyber vulnerabilities associated with engineering/management of power flows between eight separated Grid regions, and (2) Sensor vulnerabilities associated with process sensors, which currently have no cyber security, authentication, or cyber logging.

— Immediately pass comparable legislation (at the federal and state level) to bipartisan House Resolution 762 12/ from the 112th Congress, which did not pass. (“Expressing the sense of the House of Representatives regarding community-based civil defense and power generation”). Push for a desperately needed renewed culture of preparedness in the United States.

— In addition to action at the federal level, take action at the state level, either through executive order (such as this one proposed for Florida) 13/ or through legislation to (1) incorporate EMP-induced blackouts into state homeland security planning scenarios, (2) solicit technical information, analysis, resources from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to protect the state’s electric grid [as U.S. DHS is lawfully required to provide under the Critical Infrastructure Protection Act] and (3) solicit proposals from reputable contractors, experienced in protecting Department of Defense systems from EMP, to develop plans for protecting the state’s electric grid from EMP and other known hazards.

— As recommended by the Congressional EMP Commission in April 2008 14/, “Evaluate & implement quick fixes” – including the numerous commercial technologies presently available to provide cost-effective modifications to provide significant protection quickly. [Numerous military contractors and civilian corporations possess the know-how to protect the grid with rigorously tested equipment and techniques.]

Knowing how long this nation’s leaders (at all levels of government) have allowed these vulnerabilities to exist, we have started a movement to demand action. We will be watching and holding our leaders accountable at the ballot box. Expect to hear from our representatives in this effort, and we will expect you to make progress to defend our homeland by ensuring ‘POWER’S UP, not grid down.’


1/ securethegrid.com/2022/02/28/60-minutes-how-secure-is-americas-electric-grid/

2/ https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2019/03/29/2019-06325/coordinating-national-resilience-to-electromagnetic-pulses

3/ www.congress.gov/116/plaws/publ92/PLAW-116publ92.pdf

4/ www.infragardnational.org/ndrc/

5/ www.Energy.gov/sites/default/files/2021-10/Waller%20DOE%20October%2028%20SEAB.pdf

6/ www.resilientsocieties.org/uploads/5/4/0/0/54008795/petition_for_rulemaking_resilient_societies_docketed.pdf

7/ www.airuniversity.af.edu/Portals/10/AUPress/Papers/LP_0004_ELECTROMAGNETIC_DEFENSE_TASK_FORCE_2_2019.PDF

8/ www.alignact.com/go/secure-americas-spent-nuclear-fuel

9/ www.energy.gov/sites/default/files/2022-04/Tommy%20Waller_SEAB_4-19-22.pdf

10/ www.energy.gov/sites/default/files/2022-01/SEAB_January%2025_PublicComments_STG-Coalition.pdf

11/ www.energy.gov/sites/default/files/2022-04/Joe%20Weiss_SEAB_4-19-22.pdf

12/ www.congress.gov/bill/112th-congress/house-resolution/762

13/ www.centerforsecuritypolicy.org/florida-versus-russia/

14/ www.firstempcommission.org/uploads/1/1/9/5/119571849/emp_comm._rpt._crit._nat._infrastructures.pdf

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