COLUMBUS – State Rep. Mike Loychik (R-Bazetta) is set to introduce legislation that will help safeguard Ohio’s pipelines and electric grids through cybersecurity protection. The intended bill seeks $1 million in additional funding each Fiscal Year from the GRF for a cybersecurity grant program.
The initiative would allow private and state agencies to seek grants to enhance cybersecurity for the purpose of protecting Ohio’s pipelines and electrical grids.
“We’ve recently seen hackers take control of one of our major pipelines, which has led to gas shortages and price surges on Americans,” said Loychik. “It’s clear the Biden administration is not doing anything to protect our energy sector, it’s up to our state to take action to ensure our grids are protected and that Ohioans are not being hurt at the gas pumps.”
Loychik refers to the recent ransomware attack that disrupted the flow of nearly half of the gasoline and jet fuel supplies to the region of the East Coast, according to several reports. The attack that locked up the Colonial Pipeline, a private firm, forced the F.B.I. to issue an emergency alert for 17 states and D.C. to electric utilities, gas suppliers, and other pipeline operators.
Colonial Pipeline, which has a 5,550-mile stretch of gasoline pipeline, had to shutdown last Friday due to the cyberattack and currently remains offline. Several reports note the cyberattack has led to gasoline demand to rise to 20 percent within the U.S. from a week before and has led to increased gas prices.
Specifically, national gas prices rose above $3 per gallon average for the first time in seven years.
Loychik hopes to introduce the legislation within the week.