Senator Hurtado Comments on Federal Cybersecurity Actions for the Water Sector Infrastructure

BAKERSFIELD, CA – Senator Melissa Hurtado (D-Bakersfield) released the following statement after the Federal Government, through the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) water resilience, sent a letter to all U.S. Governors inviting state level environmental, health and homeland security secretaries to a coordination meeting on safeguarding the water sector infrastructure from ongoing cyberattacks.

“I applaud the coordination efforts between the Federal and state level governments to safeguard our critical infrastructure from the ongoing threats posed by cybersecurity attacks that seek disrupt the critical lifeline of clean and safe drinking water,” said Senator Melissa Hurtado. “I am carrying a bill, Senate Bill 265, the Cybersecurity Preparedness Act, that seeks to comprehensively assess our current cybersecurity practices and seeks to identify any significant vulnerabilities. Unfortunately, the threat to our water systems from hackers linked to hostile foreign governments and terrorists has never been greater.”  

Senate Bill 265, the Cybersecurity Preparedness Act, directs the California Office of Emergency Services (Cal-OES) and the California Cybersecurity Integration Center (Cal-CSIC) to prepare a multi-year outreach plan to assist critical infrastructure sectors specifically in efforts to improve cybersecurity.

“Cybersecurity attacks on critical infrastructure threatens not only California’s economy and the livelihood of those dependent on these sectors, it compromises a national and global economy dependent on California to deliver vital goods and services.”

Dr. Tony Coulson, who has testified multiple times in the support of the bill to various Senate and Assembly committees, stated that, “California needs the ability to coordinate effectively for cyber-attack responses. A cyber-attack is not just a possibility, but a probability.” Dr. Coulson’s words are increasingly ringing true as the frequency and intensity of cybersecurity attacks has only grown since the bill’s introduction in early 2023.

The bill is currently in the Assembly Appropriations Committee, awaiting a hearing date before committee members.