Updated: Dec 26, 2021
This year Senator John Kennedy of Louisiana introduced the Lineman Legacy Act.
The bill would specify that utility line technicians responding to a major disaster or emergency qualify as emergency response providers.
In February, the bill was read in the senate before being referred to the Committee of Homeland Security and Governmental affairs.
That is as far as it got.
The legislation remains stalled has not not moved any further.
It is worth noting that the Senate Committee on Homeland Security is made of both republicans and democrats. This is not meant to a political argument at one side of the other, rather a sad piece of irony how a Louisiana senator tried to give increased authorization and access to line workers several months before Hurricane Ida wreaks havoc across both his home state and the entire Southern US.
The 2002 Homeland Security Act and more specifically the Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act that was aiming to be adjusted to include linemen certainly recognizes the importance that power and the national grid has in society.
It is listed throughout the documents, the importance of the stability of public power across the country.
However almost nothing is clarified about the disaster relief assistance needed in times like we see this week.
There remains a large knowledge gap in the public understanding in the importance of access to electricity and public power and the means to which linemen are needed to give such.
Once or a so a year, an article titled "It's time to bury our power lines under ground" will be shared across social media with a lot of "keyboard experts of utility and grid management" playing arm-chair quarterback.
This shows the lack of public understanding in efforts needed to manage and maintain the national power system.
Firefighters, police, and paramedics play a critical role in protecting people and property during fires, medical emergencies, terrorist acts, and natural disasters.
In today's ever connected world with increasing reliance on electricity, linemen are emergency responders.