Biden Suspends Another Key Trump Executive Order, It Was Keeping China Out Of American Power Grid

OPINION | This article contains political commentary which reflects the author's opinion.

President Joe Biden’s efforts to use executive authority to wipe away the impacts of former President Donald Trump came one swipe of the pen that impacts China’s ability to gain a foothold in America’s power grid, according to The Western Journal.

“Executive Order 13920 of May 1, 2020 (Securing the United States Bulk-Power System), is hereby suspended for 90 days. The Secretary of Energy and the Director of OMB shall jointly consider whether to recommend that a replacement order be issued,” Biden’s order stated.

“[F]oreign adversaries are increasingly creating and exploiting vulnerabilities in the United States bulk-power system, which provides the electricity that supports our national defense, vital emergency services, critical infrastructure, economy, and way of life. The bulk-power system is a target of those seeking to commit malicious acts against the United States and its people, including malicious cyber activities, because a successful attack on our bulk-power system would present significant risks to our economy, human health and safety, and would render the United States less capable of acting in defense of itself and its allies,” Trump said.

“[U]nrestricted acquisition or use in the United States of bulk-power system electric equipment designed, developed, manufactured, or supplied by persons owned by, controlled by, or subject to the jurisdiction or direction of foreign adversaries augments the ability of foreign adversaries to create and exploit vulnerabilities in bulk-power system electric equipment, with potentially catastrophic effects,” Trump wrote.

“I, therefore, determine that the unrestricted foreign supply of bulk-power system electric equipment constitutes an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security, foreign policy, and economy of the United States.”

The order banned “bulk-power system electric equipment designed, developed, manufactured, or supplied, by persons owned by, controlled by, or subject to the jurisdiction or direction of a foreign adversary” where purchasing such equipment “poses an undue risk of sabotage to or subversion of the design, integrity, manufacturing, production, distribution, installation, operation, or maintenance of the bulk-power system in the United States.”

“[B]ecause Chinese companies are key suppliers of equipment to the US power sector, and the Trump administration has consistently targeted China as a trade adversary and threat to US national security, many observers believe the EO intends primarily to curtail Chinese access to, and Chinese industrial equipment sales serving, the US bulk power system.”

“The bulk-power system is the backbone of our Nation’s energy infrastructure and is fundamental to our national security, the American economy, and our way of life,” Brouillette said in the release.

“It is imperative we secure the BPS against attacks and exploitation by foreign adversaries. This order is one of several steps this Administration is taking to greatly diminish the ability of our foreign adversaries to target our critical electric infrastructure,” he said.

From The Western Journal:

Although the order never mentioned any nation by name as a national security threat, the National Law Review said the target was clear.

The authority contained in Trump’s executive order was used in December by then-Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette in an order he issued specifically targeting China, according to a release on the Department of Energy website.

The order prohibits utilities that supply critical defense facilities from buying equipment from China “that poses an undue risk to the [bulk-power system], the security or resilience of critical infrastructure, the economy, national security, or safety and security of Americans,” the release said. The order took effect Jan. 16.

With the executive order Brouillette based his order on being paused for 90 days, and the Trump administration having left office, it is unclear what will happen to the order banning Chinese equipment from being used by utilities that supply power to America’s military installations.