On February 12, 2014, Acting FERC Chairman LaFleur issued separate but identical responses to a February 7, 2014 letter signed by Senators Feinstein, Franken, Reid and Wyden regarding the physical security of critical infrastructure. Referencing the April 2013 attack on a California substation, the senators’ letter had requested that FERC and NERC determine whether additional minimum standards should be developed regarding physical security at critical substations. LaFleur’s letter outlines several meetings and discussions that FERC has had with NERC, federal and state agencies, trade associations, and other stakeholders to discuss the need to increase physical protection of key facilities. LaFleur also identifies detailed grid modeling it has conducted to help identify appropriate protective measures. Finally, LaFLeur suggests that Congress could assist efforts by FERC and NERC by enhancing the confidentiality of sensitive security information concerning physical or cyber threats to the bulk power system through, for example, a properly defined exemption from the Freedom of Information Act. LaFLeur also believes that a single federal department or agency should be designated with clear and direct authority to require actions in the event of an emergency involving a physical or cyber threat to the bulk power system, although this authority should not impede FERC’s existing authority under section 215 to approve reliability standards.
To view the Senator’s February 7, 2014 letter, click here.
To view FERC’s news release, click here.
To view LaFleur’s letter to Sen. Feinstein, click here.
To view LaFleur’s letter to Sen. Franken, click here.
To view LaFleur’s letter to Sen. Reid, click here.
To view LaFleur’s letter to Sen. Wyden, click here.