The SHIELD Act is the first legitimate attempt Congress has taken to protect the power grid from an EMP attack or solar flare. Unfortunately for all of us, it may too little too late, if the federal government moves at its typically slower-than-molasses speed. The AR1785 solar flare which NOAH scientists predicted with a 40 percent certainty would erupt on the Fourth of July (it actually erupted on July 3) illustrates how vulnerable the power grid is to CMEs. AR1785 had a beta gamma magnetic field which harbored enough energy to make M-Class solar flares a very real possibility.
Arizona Representative Trent Franks of Arizona recently introduced the Secure High-Voltage Infrastructure for Electricity from Lethal Damage Act (SHIELD) in Congress. The bill is focused upon installing surge protectors at the site of approximately 300 electric transformers around the United States. About 300 million Americans garner electricity via the power grid.
Republican Representative Trent Franks had this to say about the SHIELD Act, which has been deemed a bipartisan bill with a 40 percent chance of passage:
“It is critical that we protect our major transformers from cascading destruction. The SHIELD Act encourages industry to develop standards necessary to protect our electric infrastructure against both natural and man-made EMP events.”
Mainstream media outlets are offering very little coverage of the SHIELD Act (HR 668) debate or the viable threat the power grid faces from solar flares and an EMP attack. The lack of a significant solar flare in recent history has apparently lulled our elected officials into a false sense of security. The SHIELD Act was preceded by HR 5026, the GRID Act. Although the legislation passed the House of Representatives, it died a swift death in the Senate.
Prepping expert Survivor Jane had this to say about the SHIELD Act:
“Although the SHEILD Act sounds impressive on its face, unfortunately it may be a little late in the game, especially with today’s news that one of biggest sunspots in the current solar cycle has emerged (AR1785) and is turning toward Earth with an unstable magnetic field and harboring energy for strong solar flares, which could ultimately result in an EMP coming our way. The SHEILD Act to me is like building a storm shelter on the day of a tornado—a little too late.”
Those who do not feel that our antiquated and overly taxed power grid is not a piece of infrastructure in dire need of an overhaul often cite the fact that the 100 solar stores which have occurred during the past century produced only a handful of eruptions strong enough to do significant damage. A solar storm in 1921 was about half as strong as the Carrington Event of 1859. If a solar flare as strong as the Carrington Event would occur today, life as we know it would be over for a very, very long time.
Secret Garden of Survival author and off-grid homesteading expert Rick Austin had this to say about the SHIELD Act:
“I’m kind of hoping for an EMP. I’m ready for it. If it happens, so be it. It’s a little late for them to be putting years’ worth of infrastructure in place at this point. In a way, I’d be happy if it happened. This country, this society, this world needs a major reset. I wouldn’t mind going back to the simpler agrarian society of the 1800s. If we did, all our political, financial, and social problems would cease to exist. No more need to fret about the national debt, Obamacare, big government, NSA spying on its own citizens, Benghazi, or Hillary Clinton as a future president … it would be a libertarian’s paradise.”
A 1989 solar flare left Quebec residents without power for about nine hours, when just one transformer was knocked off line. About six million people were left in the dark, without any modern conveniences.
Surviving Doomsday: A Guide for Surviving an Urban Disaster author Richard Duarte had this to say when sharing his thoughts on the SHIELD Act and solar flare/EMP preparedness:
“Our modern society has no idea what a national-level disaster looks like. The closest we have come in our lifetime were the events of September 11 and the chaos and confusion that followed the attacks. Aside from those horrible events, nothing has even come close. A grid-down situation would be a disaster on a national scale. Since everything we rely on is based on the assumption that there will always be an uninterrupted flow electrical power, a grid-down situation has the potential to devastate the US economy and wreak havoc among the population in just a few days. Neither the public nor the private sector has the resources or the ability to address this on a national level; Congress and the federal government must tackle this one. In the short term, it will be very expensive, but in the long term, the cost of doing nothing and just standing by and watching the train wreck is completely unacceptable.”
In 2003 a solar storm caused just a minor blackout in Sweden, but also resulted in severe damage to the power grid in South Africa. After 14 massive transformers were knocked off line, the country experienced rolling blackouts for many months. The outdated nature of the South African power grid and a lack of adequate maintenance were cited as the reasons the power grid experienced the long-term blackouts. The power grid in the United States could easily be compared to the South African grid of 2003.
A recent Lloyds of London study maintains that an EMP attack could leave the entire area of New York to Washington, D.C. without power for about two years if a major incident occurred. An EMP Commission report stated that American society is not structured, nor does it have the means to provide for the needs of all United States citizens in a world without electricity. Approximately 3 million American families describe themselves as preppers, so Uncle Sam could mark them off the “needs” list. But the significant portion of society which already relies on the government to provide for their survival would be in complete upheaval within days of a downed power grid. The greatest threat of life comes not from a power grid failure, but from the civil unrest which would ensue within three days of such a disaster scenario.
How do you feel about the SHIELD Act and the state of the power grid?
The views and opinions expressed in the article are those of the interview subjects and not necessarily those of Off The Grid News.