API Lobbies Against Cyber Protections as CEO Says Companies “Need to Protect [Pipelines] From Attacks From Regulators and Government Officials”

WASHINGTON, D.C. — With the threat of cyberattacks on the rise during the COVID-19 crisis and an attack earlier this month putting the Colonial Pipeline, one of the nation’s largest pipelines, temporarily out of commission, as Salon reported today, new research from government watchdog Accountable.US shows the American Petroleum Institute (API) has continued its efforts to kill measures to protect pipelines from future threats. API came out strongly against government solutions in favor of so-called “voluntary frameworks,” and even warned that oil companies “need to protect [pipelines] from regulators.” 

But the trade group’s concern for government intervention did not prevent it from praising federal waivers for the oil and gas industry in the wake of the Colonial Pipeline attack — on the contrary, it used the situation to lobby for more government investment in oil pipelines. 

“In the wake of dangerous cyber threats, the American Petroleum Institute is apparently angrier with the government for stepping up to stop future attacks than they are with the hackers doing the attacking,” said Kyle Herrig, president of Accountable.US. “The government has an obligation to protect American interests from cyberattacks including pipelines and other infrastructure — API treating these serious threats as a cash cow to line oil industry pockets while lobbying against the government stepping up protections shows they have the wrong priorities.” 

One cybersecurity firm estimates that less than a quarter of the U.S. oil and gas industry has adequate cybersecurity protections, undermining API’s claims that the industry is “deeply engaged” on the issue. And despite the threats to their pipelines, Big Oil companies have previously expressed concerns that sharing cybersecurity practices could affect their bottom lines. 

Read more about API’s anti-regulatory hypocrisy here

SALON: Big Oil lobby fought cybersecurity regulations for years, making pipeline attack easier

Even after Colonial attack, oil industry lobby group suggests that regulations are nearly as bad as hackers 

The American Petroleum Institute, the top trade group for the oil and gas industry, spent years opposing federal cybersecurity regulations before the Colonial Pipeline ransomware attack. After the attack, watchdog groups say API is still opposing strong federal regulation and pushing for taxpayer “subsidies” instead.

[Read the full story HERE.]

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