Virginia Regulatory Town Hall
Department of Environmental Quality
Department of Environmental Quality
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2/24/23  12:53 pm
Commenter: Cynthia Shang

Noise/air oversight, public notification needed. Variance needs to be dropped.

This variance will also increase noise pollution as generators are loud, so why is that not being addressed?

EPA, requires states to monitor air pollution so why is this variance pushing that responsibility off to the data centers? Given: “each affected data center shall provide to the department as soon as practicable a calculation of the emissions of air pollutants from its Tier II and Tier IV emergency generators during the periods they operated under the provisions of this order and local variance.”, this variance is relying on data centers to self monitor and report when? “as soon as practicable” could be 1 month, 1 year, 5 years, 10 years. This open-ended reporting is unacceptable. There needs to be stricter reporting requirements with more oversight from outside the data center industry.

There is no limit to the duration of the “emergency”. If the electrical grid is already overloaded, then the “emergency” could go on for days or weeks. If March through July is considered the period of the emergency then what is to prevent a data center from simply running their generators as much as they can?

There are many data centers near homes which will more adversely affect those residents. There needs to be strict requirements for informing the public, not only in advance but in real time, regarding the actual levels of air and noise pollution.

We have limits on air and noise pollution for a reason. There is no need for every single data center to be allowed to run their generators when they cannot pull power from the grid. A long term solution could be to have these data centers contribute to a fund to expand the electrical grid or to provide air or solar power themselves. In the short term, the data centers must still be required to adhere to current air and noise pollution limits; those that cannot should be fined.

I oppose this entire variance. Counties have caused this problem by not taking the electrical requirements of data centers into account before allowing the over-building of such. If data centers cannot all function during certain times, I don’t think our society will collapse but people might. Please rescind this variance or at the very least, define and implement more strict duration limits, reporting, notification and oversight.


CommentID: 209027