Scott Brown was elected as Senator from Massachusetts in a special election in January of 2010, after the death of Senator Edward Kennedy. I tend to be somewhat more conservative than Senator Brown and have disagreed with him on some of his votes, but I think he is a man of integrity who is trying to do what is best for the country and for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. He is responsible for two good things that happened in the Senate this week.
On his facebook page, Senator Brown reports:
On 12/14/11 the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs passed Senator Brown’s revised STOCK Act, which would prohibit insider trading in Congress.
I have no idea what is in the revised bill, but it is an accomplishment to get it out of committee. Thomas.gov should have the revisions up tomorrow.
The second good thing is a Press Release Scott Brown released on December 13. In part, the Press Release reads:
Washington, DC – Following a series of major electric outages that have left millions of New Englanders without power in recent years, a bipartisan group of U.S. Senators from the region today, including Senator Scott Brown (R-MA), called for a hearing to review our nation’s electric grid reliability standards. In a letter to the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, the Senators highlighted the fact that power outages not only pose a threat to public safety, but also to local businesses and economies.
As an example, the Senators pointed to last month’s New England snowstorm that left more than 2 million utility customers without power, including 672,000 in Massachusetts, 315,000 in New Hampshire and 830,000 in Connecticut.
“This year, Hurricane Irene and the October snowstorm caused hundreds of thousands of Massachusetts residents to lose power for days or weeks, often with little information about when the lights would turn back on,” said U.S. Senator Scott Brown (R-MA). “I share their frustration and, as we have learned, a reliable power grid is not just critical to our economy, but a matter of life and death. I hope the Committee will hold this oversight hearing to reveal the extent of our energy reliability issues, and help our nation be better prepared for major disruptions to our power supply.”
“Power outages can have significant consequences, even life-threatening ones when they come during the brutal cold of winter. Families can be forced out of their homes and businesses forced to close unexpectedly,” said U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), a member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. “Unfortunately, over the past two years, significant and sustained outages have been occurring across New England with unacceptable regularity. Our electric grid reliability standards are designed to protect the welfare of the American people and the American economy, and it’s time that we review their effectiveness and adequacy.”
“This hearing can be highly significant, not only in fact finding but change making,” said U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT). “An oversight hearing should enable us to explore and expose defects in utility preparation and response, and empower reforms in policies and practices at every level. The prolonged power outages from this past October’s storm had real and pernicious consequences for the economy, health, and safety of Connecticut residents. An oversight hearing is essential to upgrade our reliability standards as well as improve Mutual Aid Agreements, so that states can protect against similar catastrophes.”
There is another issue here. An organization called EMPact America has been trying to wake Americans up to the dangers of an Electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attack.
The EMPact America website reports:
An EMP can be caused by a natural event like a severe solar storm or a malicious act using a weapon like a high-altitude nuclear burst. National experts have concluded that consequences of a natural or manmade EMP event could be long-lasting, continent-wide and cripple the U.S. critical electricity-dependent infrastructures, which are highly vulnerable and largely unprotected.
On a personal note. I have been aware of the potential of an EMP attack for a number of years. As I have previously stated on this website, I am not particularly scientifically inclined and not always totally logical. Before I retired, I worked about 20 miles from my home, I knew that in the case of an EMP attack my car would not work and I would want to get home if I was at work. Since I generally wore high heels to work, I always kept a pair of jogging shoes in the trunk of my car. That was my security blanket. I felt very secure until my husband pointed out to me that after an EMP attack I would have no way of getting into my trunk–it has an electronic latch. That is an example of one of the little things that would not work after an EMP attack.
Shielding the electric grid is not an expensive proposition. It needs to be done to protect the people of America. I am grateful Senator Brown is calling for hearings on the reliability of our power grid.