Virginia Regulatory Town Hall
Department of Environmental Quality
Department of Environmental Quality
Previous Comment     Next Comment     Back to List of Comments
2/26/23  9:00 pm
Commenter: Laura Mahoney

NO order & local variance for data centers

Allowing an order and local variance (even if temporary) for data centers in the counties of Loudoun, Prince William, and Fairfax is just another step in the wrong direction.

Everyone knows data centers require an enormous amount of energy to power them. There's no surprise there.  So, if the amount of energy needed to feed these power hungry monsters is no surprise, then why do we keep allowing approval of more data centers if the electrical grid infrastructure isn't there?  And why would DEQ considering allowing, what is supposed to be a temporary form of emergency power a pass to run 24/7 - at the expense of the environment, and well-being and health of the residents of Virginia?  

Does the DEQ realize that there are data centers being built next to schools and residential homes? And in large quantities?  In Prince William county, specifically the west end, we are being surrounded by data centers.  There are plans for about 60 within about 2 miles of my house.  Yes, I said 60.  And that is just near my home.  There are dozens others already constructed or being constructed nearby in Haymarket, Gainesville, and Manassas.  Those data centers are about 60 to 110' tall.   What about the additional noise the generators will make and compounded with each other?  How much pollution will be generated in one dense area?  It's not like we're spreading them out across the entire state.    

Moreover, I believe that if DEQ allows this to pass it will only set a precedence for the data centers to keep using their diesel generators long after July 2023 because the electrical infrastructure will still not be sufficient by then.  This exemption will drag on and on, meanwhile creating further pollution, noise, and health issues for residents and schools sandwiched by these things, but all the while rewarding the data center industry at large. 

Please don't put the cart before the horse - I sincerely hope the DEQ votes NO to allowing any order & local variance for the data centers.

CommentID: 209105