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Friday, November 07, 2014

How Safe Are We Really?

I had the honor of working with then Oklahoma Corporation Commissioner Denise Bode on her Congressional campaign and at first, a lot of the topics, the discussions were a little over my head.  Denise is one of those people who is probably too intelligent for her own good, so it took a bit for me to catch up.  However, one of the topics of conversation that recurred regularly was that of "critical infrastructure."  It began to make sense, the picture came into focus and a bright, happy "a-ha" moment followed.  
  1. Critical infrastructure is a term used by governments to describe assets that are essential for the functioning of a society and economy. Most commonly associated with the term are facilities for: electricity generation, transmission and distribution...
The Oklahoma Corporation Commission regulates about 80% of the Oklahoma economy, yet is one of the most overlooked departments in government - unless, of course, you're in the oil and gas industry.  The Corporation Commission has been warning the Legislature for a very long time about needed improvements and safety measures for Oklahoma's critical infrastructure - oil and gas pipeline distribution networks, power transmission lines, etc. but for some reason it just hasn't stuck.  And then, I saw an article this week that not only reminded me of Denise Bode (the head of the American Wind Energy Association now), but her words reverberated in my head and made me ask just how safe we are today, really.

The story was circulating in Washington about malware Trojan horses being used by Russia to potentially attack our critical infrastructure, but in energy producing states like Oklahoma and Texas, there was very little talk about it - if any at all.  Certainly one could expect a candidate for public office at least pretend to address the issue, but sadly, there was nothing.  

States like Oklahoma and Texas must wake up to the reality that there are super bad guys out there who will target our transmission infrastructure and basically cripple us as a nation.  We have become wickedly dependent upon electronics, electric gadgetry and were we to lose access, we would run around like a bunch of chickens with our heads cut off.  It's time to get our legislators to at least discuss this topic and propose some ideas as to how we can improve and prepare for just such an attack.

Denise Bode lost her bid for Congress to now Governor Mary Fallin, and she went on to head up the American Clean Skies Foundation and now, at the American Wind Energy Association.  Her words are ringing true today and we had damned well better pay attention.  Like Denise or not, she was and is right on this issue.

Of course, that's just my opinion and I could be wrong.  But I seriously doubt it.

Ron "Gorilla" Black