I am a resident of Ashburn in Loudoun County, where many of the data centers are located. A substantial number of newly-constructed data centers are beginning operation in the county, which puts a heavy load on Loudoun County's electrical grid. However, data centers are not the only inhabitants of the county. Many residents live among the data centers and would be exposed to the higher levels of air and noise pollution.
I am opposed to the proposed environmental variance, and I recommend that the Department of Environmental Quality be as well. If the DEQ's purpose is not to protect the environmental health and safety of Virginians and the Commonwealth, then what is it? The purpose of environmental regulations must be to protect people and the ecosystem from bad actors. Beyond an emergency, these regulations ought to remain in effect. Data center electrical demand outstripping local electrical grid capacity is in no way an emergency, nor a priority for the residents of Loudoun County. While the proposal indicates that no data center plans to use this variance (if issued), the DEQ should reject this proposal for environmental variance.
Thank you for your consideration.