Colonial Pipeline, the largest U.S. fuel pipeline company, recently suffered a cyber attack and was subsequently forced to shut down its operations. Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) said Sunday (May 16) that the incident exposed “existential” vulnerabilities in the U.S. fuel and power grids, and that the Democrats’ Green New Deal would make the problem even worse.
In an interview with “The Cats Roundtable” radio host John Catsimatidis on Sunday, Johnson responded to the question of whether future attacks on the nation’s critical infrastructure systems are likely.
“There is no simple solution to cybersecurity.” Johnson drew an analogy because the issue is as elusive as a “trickster.
Last week, Colonial Pipeline, the largest U.S. fuel pipeline company, was forced to halt operations after being hacked. The pipeline system is responsible for transporting about 45 percent of the fuel on the U.S. East Coast. The shutdown thus affected gasoline supplies in parts of the East Coast, and the situation was exacerbated by panic buying as some people waited for hours to fill up during the Colonial Pipeline shutdown.
The Wisconsin Republican noted that solutions to the problem should include holding cyber attackers accountable.
“Make them pay for these kinds of intrusions.” Johnson said he acknowledges that identifying these behind-the-scenes hackers is difficult.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and government officials initially attributed the cyberattack to a criminal group called DarkSide.
President Joe Biden said at a May 13 news conference that while the administration does not believe the Russian government was involved in the hack, “we do have good reason to believe that the criminals who carried out this attack live in Russia.”
“We have been in direct communication with Moscow about the urgency of getting the responsible countries to take decisive action against these ransomware networks.” Biden added that the government will “take a step to dismantle their [hackers’] ability to operate.” The Department of Justice (DOJ) has launched a new task force to prosecute ransomware hackers.
Johnson said a key lesson from the Colonial cyberattack was “how vulnerable our fuel grid is, how vulnerable our power grid is.”
“We’re very vulnerable.” Johnson also called for more investment to strengthen grid resilience.
“We’ve spent trillions of dollars on infrastructure, let’s spend billions more to pre-purchase spare large power transformers in case we have an EMP or GMD problem on the grid,” he said. Johnson has long advocated for enhanced measures to protect the grid from geomagnetic disturbance (GMD) threats such as electromagnetic pulses (EMPs), nuclear weapons and solar storms.
“We are a fossil fuel-based economy for decades to come.” Johnson said in a Sunday interview, “We need to recognize that, shore up our grid under that reality, and not make us more vulnerable with the Green New Deal.”
Republicans: Green New Deal Masks Socialism in the Name of the Environment
Radical Democrats, led by Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York and Democratic Sen. Ed Markey of Massachusetts, reintroduced the Green New Deal in late April. New Deal. Their reintroduction in the form of a Senate resolution is considered the Democratic Party’s signature blueprint for addressing climate change.
“The Green New Deal is not just a resolution, it’s a revolution,” Markey said at an April 20 news conference in Washington. Republicans quickly responded that it was a “socialist super package.
Johnson said Biden’s plan to adopt some of the proposals in the Green New Deal could make the national grid more vulnerable.
He explained that as people flock to put up “solar panels and tap into the grid” to make a small profit, it will create “more points of contact for cyberattackers to exploit.
“We really need to change our direction on this issue. No administration has paid enough attention to the vulnerability of our grid,” he said. He said.
“This could become a (grid) survival issue.” Johnson warned.
Republicans have repeatedly opposed the Green New Deal as an expensive and extreme proposal that would cause job losses and reduce U.S. energy independence.
Sen. Ralph Norman of South Carolina, the ranking Republican on the Environment Subcommittee, said in a statement after the deal was reintroduced, “The Green New Deal is the most amateurish resolution in recent memory, true to its name. This legislation will change every aspect of American life – what we eat, how we travel, how we heat our homes, and even what jobs we can hold.”
“Simply put, the Green New Deal is an attempt to disguise socialism in the name of environmental protection.” He said.
At a news conference, Markey portrayed the Green New Deal as a “revolution,” saying the proposal “provides the framework we need to address the intersecting crises facing our nation – climate change, public health pandemics, racial injustice and economic injustice. climate change, public health pandemics, racial injustice and economic inequality,” he said.
He said, “We can transform our economy and our democracy for all Americans by addressing the generational challenges of climate change.”
Ocasio-Cortez joined Markey at the relaunch. She emphasized the comprehensive and “revolutionary” nature of the plan.
“We will transition to a 100 percent carbon-free economy that is more unionized, more just, more dignified, and guarantees more health care and housing than ever before.” Ocasio-Cortez said, “Do we intend to send a message to the Biden administration that we need to go bigger and bolder? The answer is absolutely.”
Colonial Pipeline said on Saturday (May 15) that its system had resumed “normal operations.