Virginia Regulatory Town Hall
Department of Environmental Quality
Department of Environmental Quality
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2/25/23  5:26 pm
Commenter: James Hart

Data Center air pollution

I strongly oppose the requested order lowering the air pollution standards in the three counties, for the data centers.  The public ought not be exposed to the additional particulates from the diesel generators.  If the local electrical grid is insufficient to support the data center operations, and if they need backup generators to maintain service, they need to aggressively implement cleaner technologies for their facilities, not make excuses  or seek forgiveness for the mess they have created.  

Too many data centers are already constructed or approved locally, with unmitigated and insufficiently understood impacts on the environment and infrastructure.  Lowering the air pollution standards, even temporarily, to accommodate mistakes that have already been made endangers the health of the residents and our quality of life.  If our existing infrastructure is insufficient to handle the data centers, and if they cannot implement cleaner technologies, such as backup batteries and solar power, they need to go elsewhere, or shut down.  Their impacts need to be mitigated before DEQ considers changing the rules to accommodate additional air pollution.  The burden should be on the data centers, not on the general public.

I also am concerned that the public may not be fully aware of the significance of what is being requested, on short notice.  Many folks would object if they knew the full impact of the data center operations.  The public depends on DEQ and others to uphold environmental standards, not to make exceptions for polluters who have expanded too quickly, without regard for the impacts of their pollution on the community.  Please do not lower the existing pollution standards.

CommentID: 209049