CBS Sacramento

New California Law Orders Study Of Geomagnetic Storm Impact

September 11, 2018

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — California will be looking into the risks posed to the state’s electrical system by a geomagnetic storm or an electromagnetic pulse attack.

Gov. Jerry Brown signed Senate Bill 1076 into law on Wednesday. The bill calls for the state’s Offices of Emergency Services to look into the risk of an EMP attack or a geomagnetic storm that could wipe out portions of the state’s power grid.

The bill, authored by state Sen. Bob Hertzberg, recalls the Carrington Storm that wiped out telegraph operations in the 19th century and calls for more research into how a similar coronal mass ejection from the sun could affect the state in the 21st century.

With modern dependence on the electrical grid for pretty much everything other than using a hammer, the impact from such a storm could be devastating. The bill lays out a dire scenario of a national blackout that could lead to the deaths of millions and put a $2 trillion dent in the economy.

The bill itself doesn’t propose any solutions, rather it focuses on collecting data on possible vulnerabilities and raising public awareness of the impact such an event could have on the state. That risk analysis and evaluation would be in the next State Hazard Mitigation Plan