EMPact America Urging Congress To Protect The Power Grid

EMPact America is a non-profit bi-partisan group focused on protecting the nation’s infrastructure against an EMP catastrophe. Both the Congressional EMP Commission and the National Academy of Science have reportedly warned that an electromagnetic pulse incident could occur from a “great geomagnetic storm” and possess an impact nearly identical of a nuclear EMP attack.

The Congressional EMP Commission ended in 2008. EMPact America is calling for, among other things, the re-establishment of the governmental group which was tasked with guarding the power grid and other infrastructure against such a catastrophe. Many NOAA and NASA scientists have also voiced concerns about the fragility of the overly-taxed power grid should a solar maximum storm occur.

The EMP Commission was formed in 2001 and issued reports in 2004 and 2008. The commission’s activities are often noted as the first time the government made the public aware of the large scale issues which could result from a downed power grid or EMP catastrophe. Before it was disbanded, the EMP Commission developed a plan to protect United States critical infrastructures over a three to five year period.

EMPact America Vice President and General Manager Ross Howath had this to say about EMP preparedness during an interview with Off The Grid News:

“The long and short of it is that really in 2009, they [Congress] started getting the fire lit under them. When I say them, I’m referring to the House, specifically. There were some classified briefings of some of the members of the House. There were some heroes on both sides of the aisle, including Bennie Thompson and Yvette Clarke on the Democratic side and Trent Franks and Congressman Roscoe Bartlett on the Republican side, as well as others. I don’t want to leave anyone out.

They introduced the grid act, which was HR 5026. They passed it unanimously out of the committee. It went to the floor again. Its consent passed through the House. Eventually it went over to the Senate. When it got over to the Senate, in part because they tried to introduce cyber, they tried to take an all houses approach, which theoretically there’s nothing wrong with. The problem is that when the rubber hits the road, you start getting into jurisdictional issues and money issues and that kind of thing. Basically, it just sat on the vine and died because that congress ended at the end of the year.”

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Howath went on to note that in February of 2010, Franks, Clarke, and Bartlett brought the issue up again and discussed the matter at a Congressional caucus on EMPs. HR 668, otherwise known as the Shield Act, was launched via the EMP caucus. The act basically amended a portion of the Federal Power Act to prompt cooperation between the government and power industry to create and implement processes that would address the vulnerability of the power grid.

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A Congressional EMP Commission study reportedly found that if a solar or nuclear catastrophe occurred, up to three-quarters of the population could be lost during the first year. Some experts put the population loss far higher, possibly close to 90 percent, due to the fact that many citizens may not know how to care for themselves in a disaster scenario. Basic survival skills pertaining to garnering water, food, and preventing disease were noted among the reasons much of the American population could perish during such an emergency scenario.

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The Shield Act has reportedly been lingering in sub-committee, prompting EMPact America to push for the re-establishment of the EMP Commission and related infrastructure protection action.

Are you concerned about the vulnerability of the power grid should an EMP attack or massive solar flare occur?

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