Sen. Bob Hall calls on Gov. Abbott to Prioritize Grid Security

Sen. Bob Hall calls on Gov. Abbott to Prioritize Grid Security

As Texas Legislature heads into a special session, threats to electrical grid security loom

(AUSTIN, TX)– Sen. Bob Hall (R-Edgewood), today called on Gov. Greg Abbott to add electrical grid security to the agenda items for the legislative special session starting in July.

“There are several very real threats to the Texas power grid, and the consequences would be so severe that we should address this now,” Hall said. “There are hostile countries that might cause this, but there are also natural forces that may also cause the same result soon. Either way, we need to be prepared.”

Threats to the United States from weapons designed to affect the electrical grid, such as those from North Korea, were highlighted today in the Wall Street Journal article, “North Korea Dreams of Turning Out the Lights,” which explains plans by North Korea to launch electromagnetic pulse weapons, aka “EMP’s,” against America.

“The reason I introduced this legislation is that, although it may be of seemingly low probability right now, if some nut like Kim Jung-un lashed out at us, or if  a strong solar storm like the Carrington Event in 1859 were to occur, it would happen without warning,” said Senator Hall.

“Because the Texas electric grid is isolated from the other 48 continental states, we are in unique position to protect it, and, at the same time gain a huge economic advantage over the other states. With just a few smart actions now, we could protect the security of the Texas electric grid against threats from rogue agents like North Korea, Iran, threats from storms, or some other threat we can’t foresee. A secure electrical grid would be a stronger economic magnet for business to move to Texas than spending more economic development funds or tax abatements”

Hall added, “I appreciate this threat not just as an electrical engineer, but also as a former U.S. Air Force office who led a project team to protect the Minuteman missile system from this very same threat. We also know that other nations like Israel, China, South Korea and Russia are taking the necessary steps to protect their electrical grids.

During the recent Texas legislative session, bills to provide a remedy on the vulnerabilities of the electric grid to threats of an EMP attack overwhelmingly passed  in both legislative chamber.   Senate Bill 83 passed the Senate  on a 27 to 4 vote.  House Bill 787 passed  out of the House Chamber unanimously.  Unfortunately, in both cases, the bill passed  by one body was blocked from passing in the opposite chambers, thus thwarting the will of both legislative bodies.          

Now that the Texas Legislature has been called into a special session by Governor Abbott to address 19 agenda items of unfinished business from the recent 85th term, I have requested that the bill to protect the Texas electrical grid that should have gone to the governor for his signature in the regular session be included in the call for this special session.

Coming off the disastrous eight years of the Obama foreign policy, the world is not a safe place and many countries now wish to harm us. We need to be prepared, and it is irresponsible to continue to know what to do and not do it. Texans deserve to have their electric grid protected.”