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The Biden administration will make available $20 billion to bolster cybersecurity defenses at the state, local, and tribal government levels, the White House said in a press release.
“Governors, mayors, and legislators have embraced ambitious energy system modernization goals that have already driven significant private investment into grid upgrades, clean electricity, and U.S. cybersecurity,” the release noted.
The $20 billion will be distributed as energy system modernization grants aimed at supporting “critical infrastructure – additional grid resilience, clean electricity, and cybersecurity efforts – and spur early action by state and local governments that creates a favorable environment for increased private investment, creating jobs, reducing pollution, and boosting security.”
Last week, President Biden signed an executive order for strengthening cybersecurity defenses by enhancing the protection of federal networks and improving information-sharing between the government and the private sector. The order came in the wake of the ransomware attack that shut down the Colonial Pipeline network—the largest pipeline infrastructure in the United States and the conduit for the supply of almost half of gasoline and diesel that the East Coast consumes.
In the release of the executive order, however, the White House noted that the federal government is not the only stakeholders with the means and motivation to strengthen the cybersecurity of various systems.
“Much of our domestic critical infrastructure is owned and operated by the private sector, and those private sector companies make their own determination regarding cybersecurity investments,” the White House said.
“We encourage private sector companies to follow the Federal government’s lead and take ambitious measures to augment and align cybersecurity investments with the goal of minimizing future incidents.”
The 2.5-million-barrel-daily Colonial network was out of commission for less than a week, but the outage still caused widespread shortages of fuels in much of the East Coast as drivers stocked up on gasoline and diesel despite calls from experts to resist panic-buying. Earlier this week, there were more than 10,000 gas stations closed due to fuel shortages. As of the end of the day yesterday, the number had fallen below 10,000 but was still pretty high, according to GasBuddy data.
By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com
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Irina is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing on the oil and gas industry.