House lawmakers re-introduce pipeline security bill after Colonial hack

Lawmakers in previous years have tried to clarify and change which agencies are responsible for regulating the cybersecurity of oil and gas pipelines.

pipeline (Kodda/

More than a dozen lawmakers from both sides of the aisle on Friday reintroduced a bill that would codify agency responsibilities for securing the country's natural gas and oil pipelines in the wake of a ransomware attack that has disrupted gasoline distribution along the East Coast.

The Pipeline Security Act, which was initially introduced in 2020 by Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.), would codify the Transportation Security Agency and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency's roles in pipeline security. It also calls for TSA to develop a "personnel strategy" for staffing its security workforce as well as a deadline to update its guidelines within a year of the bill's enactment.

The House Homeland Security Committee, is scheduled to mark up the legislation on May 18.

The bill's introduction follows Colonial Pipeline's IT systems being attacked with ransomware by the criminal group Darkside. The attack, which shut down the company's pipeline for almost a week, has prompted calls from lawmakers and government officials to re-examine the authorities TSA has to secure the country's pipelines and how they are being used.

In an emailed statement, Cleaver said the bill would, "protect pipelines from all threats, streamline federal authorities, and strengthen TSA's security oversight of the pipeline sector."