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Critical Infrastructure News

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Airport officials facing jet fuel shortages are concerned they’ll have to wave off planes and helicopters that drop fire retardants during what could be a ferocious wildfire season, potentially endangering surrounding communities.

Sporadic shortages at some tanker bases in Oregon and Utah have already been reported. The worry is that multiple bases go dry simultaneously during what is shaping up to be a very busy wildfire season in the U.S. West. Tanker bases in Arizona, where many large fires are burning, have also had jet fuel supply issues in the last month.

“We haven’t run into that before,” said Jessica Gardetto, a National Interagency Fire Center spokeswoman in Boise, Idaho, and a former wildland firefighter. “It’s a scary thought, with all the shortages going on right now.”

It’s not clear if jet fuel supplies and delivery systems can be bolstered in time for this wildfire season to avoid potential problems keeping firefighting aircraft aloft if multiple large fires break out around the West.

Read more: AP News

A fire at an electrical substation in Puerto Rico has knocked out power to hundreds of thousands throughout the island, utility company LUMA Energy said Thursday.

"The fire caused major blackouts across the entire island. The situation is under assessment and work is being done to restore the system," LUMA Energy tweeted, stating that restoration efforts will continue overnight.

About 400,000 customers in Puerto Rico were without power as of late Thursday, LUMA Energy said, which is more than 1 in 10 residents on the island.

The fire broke out in a transformer at LUMA's Monacillos substation, the company said. Personnel from the Puerto Rico Police, Fire Department and Medical Emergencies are at the scene and no injuries have been reported.

Calling it an explosion, Gov. Pedro Pierluisi said that both state and federal law enforcement authorities are investigating the cause.

Read more: CNN

The Justice Department on Monday announced it has successfully seized millions of dollars in cryptocurrency Colonial Pipeline paid to the cyber criminal group Darkside following last month's ransomware attack that led the pipeline to briefly shut down its operations, according to a seizure warrant unsealed Monday afternoon.

"Earlier today, the Department of Justice has found and recaptured the majority of the ransom Colonial paid to the Darkside network in the wake of last month's ransomware attack. Ransomware attacks are always unacceptable -- but when they target critical infrastructure, we will spare no effort in our response," Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco said at a news conference.

Read more at ABC News

Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm on Sunday called for more public-private cooperation on cyber defenses and said U.S. adversaries already are capable of using cyber intrusions to shut down the U.S. power grid.

“I think that there are very malign actors who are trying,” she said. She added: “Even as we speak, there are thousands of attacks on all aspects of the energy sector and the private sector generally.”

Granholm noted, without mentioning the company by name, that Colonial Pipeline Co. was hit in May with a crippling cyberattack by a ransomware group. Colonial temporarily shut down its gasoline distribution networks in the South before paying $4.4 million to the hackers. She urged energy companies to resist paying ransom.

Read more: AP News

The Defense Department's evaluation of new heat pump technology at a National Guard installation proved the technology viable and meant the department now has another tool to enhance energy security, said the deputy assistant secretary of defense for environment and energy resilience.

"We have a process in place to help commercialize new and emerging technologies and to prove that they are cost-effective and to encourage uptake across the department," Richard Kidd told lawmakers during a hearing before the Senate Appropriations Committee yesterday. "An air source heat pump, developed in the Department of Energy, in concert with the private sector, moved through our ESTCP/SERDP program, was demonstrated at the National Guard Armory in Maine where it worked during the extremes of winter, and was proven to be cost effective."

Read more: Department of Defense