December 10, 2019

Manchin Leads Colleagues In Protecting Energy Infrastructure From Critical Threats Posed By Huawei Technology

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV), Ranking Member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, led a bipartisan group of Senators in sending a letter to Neil Chatterjee, Chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), emphasizing the dangers of incorporating equipment manufactured by Huawei Technologies Co. (Huawei) into the nation’s critical infrastructure. In the letter, Manchin and nine of his colleagues ask for Chatterjee’s assurance that FERC understands the threat posed to U.S. national security by the Chinese-owned telecommunications company, and urge FERC to work with the Administration to combat the threat. In addition to Senator Manchin, the letter was also signed by Senators Angus King (I-Maine), Jim Risch (R-Idaho), Richard Burr (R-N.C.), Mark Warner (D-Va.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Ben Sasse (R-Neb.), and John Cornyn (R-Texas).

“As you know, the Intelligence Community has issued repeated warnings to regulators and political leaders about the dangers associated with using Huawei equipment on the nation’s telecommunications network,” wrote the Senators. “Congress and the Trump Administration have taken steps to eliminate Huawei products from national security sensitive applications, citing concerns with the company’s links to the Chinese Communist party, including its intelligence services.  Given FERC’s responsibility for overseeing the reliability of the electric grid, it is critical that your agency take steps to ensure that United States critical infrastructure and the electric grid remain protected from foreign intrusion."

“The Administration will ultimately need to address the full scope of the threat posed by Huawei, including consideration of a ban on the company’s entry into the U.S. inverter market,” the Senators continued. “In the meantime, we urge FERC and its new cybersecurity division to work closely with the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Energy and its National Laboratories, industry, utilities, and other federal, state and local regulators to curb threats and protect critical infrastructure.”

The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee has reported 5 bills this year to enhance the security of our nation’s electric grid, including the Protecting Resources On The Electric grid with Cybersecurity Technology (PROTECT) Act, co-sponsored by Senator Manchin. The PROTECT Act would create incentives for utilities to deploy advanced cybersecurity technologies and increase their resilience to attacks.

The full letter can be downloaded HERE.