As West Virginia continues to recover from the severe storms that swept the state earlier this summer, U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) introduced an amendment today to the Cybersecurity Act of 2012 to ensure our nation's infrastructure has enough backup power.
Senator Manchin's measure would require the Government Accountability Office to conduct a study to determine whether both public and private infrastructure have enough backup services to endure both natural and man-made disasters.
"In the aftermath of the severe storms that hit West Virginia and the entire East Coast this summer, we learned that our nation's infrastructure is extremely vulnerable. Now imagine if the outage was because of an intentional attack," Senator Manchin said. "Up and down the East Coast, our electric grid was crippled by the storm -- because there is no backup plan that would keep the vital necessities of life running during these major storms.
"The fact is, we have to invest in our nation's infrastructure, and that means having enough of a backup system. This amendment would make sure we have the right information to make choices about how we can best shore up our infrastructure. I've also said that we can't keep investing in infrastructure in countries like Afghanistan while we neglect critical needs here at home. That's why it's time to rebuild America and our infrastructure. Let's make our country strong again."
"We know firsthand that we need to make sure our critical infrastructure - like hospitals, water systems, and communications networks -- have backup power sources that work during crises," said Senator Rockefeller, Chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee and a lead author of the cybersecurity bill. "Our networks could go out from a cyber attack due to a hacker sitting somewhere at a computer across the world, or from severe storms, as we recently saw in West Virginia, but we need to be prepared and make sure Americans are always safe. I strongly support this amendment which will make sure our power sources are looked at more closely so that they are ready and reliable at all times."
The Cyber Security Act of 2012, S. 3414, is being debated in the Senate this week.