The War on Energy: Why the United States and the International Community Need Cohesive Energy Infrastructure Security Policy

By Leibert, Richard A. | Houston Journal of International Law, Winter 2007 | Go to article overview

The War on Energy: Why the United States and the International Community Need Cohesive Energy Infrastructure Security Policy


Leibert, Richard A., Houston Journal of International Law


 I. INTRODUCTION

 II. THE PAST, PRESENT, AND FUTURE OF
     TERRORIST ATTACKS AGAINST ENERGY
     INFRASTRUCTURE
     A. The Past and Present
        1. Colombia's Fight to Save a Pipeline
        2. Creative Energy Terrorism in Chechnya
        3. The War ... on Energy Infrastructure ... in
           Iraq
     B. The Future ... It's Shocking
        1. The Oil Shockwave
        2. The NATO Forum on Energy Security
           Technology

III. THE NEED FOR ENERGY SECURITY POLICY
     A. United States Energy Security Should Not Stop at
        the Coastline: Congress Should Model Federal
        Energy Security Legislation After The Maritime
        Transportation Security Act of 2002
        1. Layers of Security Plans
        2. Regulating Security
        3. Federal Energy Security Guards
     B. The International Need for Effective Energy
        Security: The United Nations' Next Big Initiative?
        1. Resolution 1373 and the Counter-Terrorism
           Committee
        2. The IAEA and International Nuclear Energy
           Security
        3. The IMO and International Maritime Security
        4. NATO Initiative in International Energy
           Security

IV. CONCLUSION

I. INTRODUCTION

There is little debate that since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, and the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq, terrorism has been a significant topic of U.S. legislation. (1) Moreover, the local gas station marquee demonstrates the impact catastrophic events affecting energy facilities have on the American pocketbook. (2) Legislators and experts recognize, however, that natural disasters are not the sole cause of the spike in energy prices. (3) The importance of securing energy assets from terrorism is gaining both domestic and international recognition. (4) Legislators and experts have recently gone before the House Subcommittee on International Terrorism and Nonproliferation to discuss the topic of energy security. (5) The international community is also turning its focus to the security of energy infrastructure. (6)

The purpose of this Comment is to suggest the need for specific domestic and international legislation that would ensure the security of energy infrastructure. This issue has particular relevance given the lack of clearly unified energy security legislation in the United States and the conspicuous silence of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 regarding the security of non-nuclear energy infrastructure. (7) The topic of energy security has further significance internationally because energy assets worldwide have been terrorist targets in the past and there is indication they will continue to be in the future. (8) Furthermore, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is becoming increasingly interested in the issue of energy security, (9) which may help pave the way for United Nations energy security guidelines.

The first section of this Comment is a historical analysis of terrorist attacks on international energy assets and the measures nations have taken in response. This Comment will not address issues regarding the jurisdictional authority of nations to protect their energy assets abroad, though it will discuss the lengths to which some nations have gone to do so. Additionally, this Part will include a survey of the evidence indicating the intention of terrorist organizations to continue to target energy assets worldwide. This Part will also highlight a recent study called Oil Shockwave. This study primarily called attention to U.S. dependence on oil by playing out fictionalized scenarios such as terrorist attacks on energy facilities. (10)

The primary analysis of this Comment focuses on the need for clear domestic and international energy security legislation. This Comment discusses the U.S. enactment of the Maritime Transportation Security Act of 2002 (MTSA) and determines that it could serve as model legislation for federal energy infrastructure security policy. …

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