WASHINGTON, DC – The Subcommittee on Energy, chaired by Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI), today held a hearing with Department of Energy Secretary Rick Perry examining the department’s FY 2019 budget priorities and the agency’s expanding role to address emerging and existing threats to the physical and cybersecurity of the nation’s energy infrastructure.
Given the recently reported cyberattacks on our pipeline systems, #SubEnergy Chairman Upton, asked Secretary Perry, “Why is it so important that DOE take a strong role in coordinating the federal response? You may know that I have a bill, H.R. 5175, the Pipeline and LNG Facility Cybersecurity Preparedness Act which would enhance DOE’s ability to coordinate pipeline security and emergency response. Can you work with us as we move that bill forward?” Secretary Perry replied, “Yes, sir… Obviously the world has really changed… It’s not just a few times, it’s thousands of times a day that there are bad actors out there, whether they’re nation states or just a single individual with ill intent in mind, they are trying to penetrate into systems all across this country, some of them that could have catastrophic impact on our ability to deliver energy.”
To learn more about the committee’s work on legislation to modernize DOE’s ability to address energy emergencies and cybersecurity threats, click HERE.
Secretary Perry testifies at today’s hearing
#SubEnvironment Chairman John Shimkus (R-IL) highlighted the growing cost of inaction on taxpayers and ratepayers due to the federal government’s failure to dispose of nuclear material at Yucca Mountain. Mr. Shimkus asked, “As of Fiscal Year 2017, what is the approximate amount that ratepayers paid into the Nuclear Waste Fund to construct and oversee our nuclear waste management program?” Secretary Perry replied, “It’s approaching $40 billion.” Shimkus continued, “How much did the value of the Nuclear Waste Fund increase in Fiscal Year 2017?” Perry replied, “Almost $2 billion.” Mr. Shimkus then asked, “As of the end of Fiscal Year 2017, what is the cumulative liability cost, including future payments, because Yucca Mountain is not yet open.” Perry replied, “Just a touch over $34 billion.” Shimkus asked, “How much did the American taxpayers pay in legal costs during the Fiscal Year 2017 because Yucca Mountain is not open?” To which Secretary Perry replied, “$700 million.” Shimkus continued, “What was the total increase, in Fiscal Year 2017, in taxpayer liability in both actual payments as well as future projected liabilities?” Secretary Perry replied, “That one grew substantially. $3.3 billion.” Shimkus ended is question by asking, “How much are taxpayers liable for on a daily basis?” And Secretary Perry replied, “$9 million, per day.”
Vice Chairman of the full committee Joe Barton (R-TX), pointedly asked Secretary Perry, “Do you support us funding Yucca Mountain?” To which Secretary Perry replied, “The dollars that you all are going to appropriate, we will spend efficiently and appropriately…Yes.”
To learn more about the committee’s work on Yucca Mountain and disposing of the nation’s spent nuclear fuel and high-level waste, click HERE.
Chairman Walden delivers his opening statement
“Over the last few months, the committee has held legislative hearings on bipartisan bills to enhance DOE’s emergency response capabilities, strengthen the physical security and cybersecurity of the nation’s electric grid and pipelines, and streamline the process for reviewing LNG export applications,” concluded #FullCmte Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR). “DOE has been a good partner, contributing testimony and technical assistance to help fine-tune these bills. It’s my expectation that this constructive approach will continue to pay off as we dig deeper to address DOE’s core missions of nuclear energy, environmental cleanup, and mission-enabling science.”
The Majority Memorandum, witness testimony, and an archived webcast can be found on the committee’s website HERE.