Breaking News! On Last Full Day in Office Obama is Putting in Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Standard That Makes It Harder To Protect America From An EMP

The Congressional EMP Commission warns that nuclear-armed rogue states or terrorists could make a high-altitude electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attack that could blackout the national electric grid and other life-sustaining critical infrastructures for over a year—killing 9 of 10 Americans by starvation and societal collapse.

Yet as the Obama Administration goes out the door, on its very last day, January 19, its Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) is poised to pass a standard that is grossly inadequate to protect the nation from natural EMP from solar storms, and that will make it much more difficult and expensive to pass future standards to protect the nation from nuclear EMP attack.

The Chairman of the EMP Commission, Dr. William R. Graham, is warning the American people in his letter below to the incoming Trump Administration: 

“I am William R. Graham, and was the Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy and Science Advisor to President Reagan during his second term as President. Since its inception, I have been chairman of the Federal Statutory Commission to Assess the Threat to the United States from Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) Attack (“EMP Commission”), a Commission Congress first established in 2001 and recently reestablished by NDAA 2016. The Congress has directed the EMP Commission to assess both man-made EMP and naturally-occurring (solar storm) EMP, often known as geomagnetic disturbances (GMDs), and report its findings to them and to the Administration. During its previous terms, the EMP Commission has submitted several classified reports, and two unclassified reports:Volume I, Executive Report (2004) and Critical National Infrastructures (2008). Both unclassified Reports can be found on-line .”

“I wish to urgently inform you of a scheduled 19 January ruling by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) on EMP protection of the U.S. Bulk Power System, the high-voltage portion of the U.S. national electric power grids. The planned ruling is likely to have far-ranging, seriously counterproductive national security implications.”

“It may not be an accident that this action is being addressed on the last full day of the Obama Administration, rather than at a time when the Trump Administration can influence the ruling. The current FERC is made up entirely of three Obama Administration appointees, all Democrats. Two Republican appointee slots are now empty. The term of one Democrat appointee is scheduled to end on 30 June, 2017. After that time, a three appointee majority of FERC can become Trump Administration appointees.”

“FERC currently plans to finalize a standard for only the natural occurring slow EMP called E3 and ignore the nuclear-weapon-generated EMP; however, the E3 component of EMP from high-altitude nuclear explosions can have higher amplitudes than the GMD E3, and there is also a substantially higher, intense electromagnetic fast pulse (E1) produced only by high-altitude nuclear weapons. Significantly, similar commercially-available equipment can be used to protect against nuclear EMP (E3) and naturally-occurring GMD EMP (E3), but comprehensive nuclear EMP protection also requires protection against E1. The cost to comprehensively protect the entire U.S. grid from both E1 and nuclear and naturally occurring E3 would be modest if integrated with geomagnetic disturbance protection, and much of that could be recovered by utilities from their ratepayers at a very low per capita cost.”

“Despite several objections filed with the FERC, its ruling planned for 19 January has been carefully crafted to address only natural EMP. We expect that several duly filed requests for administrative rehearing are planned to be denied on 19 January. Once FERC makes its final ruling on the regulatory standard for only GMD EMP protection, it will be both difficult and more expensive to replace with the necessary comprehensive standard that integrates the nuclear EMP protection.”

“President Trump will have the authority to appoint three new FERC Commissioners between January and July 2017. A rebalanced FERC could mandate integrated protection against both GMD and nuclear EMP, with substantial cost saving and major infrastructure survivability improvement that would significantly strengthen national security.”

“I hope that this pending FERC ruling causes you grave concern, as it does for me. The FERC Chairman, Norman Bay, plays a key role in determining what items are scheduled for decision or not. The Chairman could postpone a final decision on GMD protection, and allow the Trump Administration to pursue an integrated EMP-GMD protection approach. I strongly urge you to contact Chairman Bay (202-502-8000, Chief of Staff Larry Gasteiger, 202-502-8000) and the two other sitting FERC Commissioners before their vote on the ruling on 19 January, this coming Thursday, and request that FERC defer rehearing of FERC Standard TPL-007-1, per FERC Order 830, until the Trump Administration can participate in the ruling.  Under FERC rules, this direct contact is legally permissible, as it is for any citizen.”

“Again, this is a matter that could have a significant, near-term impact on our national security, especially in view of recent moves by North Korea to establish an EMP-attack capability with ICBMs, nuclear missile-carrying submarines, and satellites.”


s/William R. Graham
William R. Graham
Commission to Assess the Threat to the United States from Electromagnetic Pulse Attack

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