Utah considers cutting off water to the NSA’s monster data center

Wired reports: Lawmakers are considering a bill that would shut off the water spigot to the massive data center operated by the National Security Agency in Bluffdale, Utah.

The legislation, proposed by Utah lawmaker Marc Roberts, is due to go to the floor of the Utah House of Representatives early next year, but it was debated in a Public Utilities and Technology Interim Committee meeting on Wednesday. The bill, H.B. 161, directs municipalities like Bluffdale to “refuse support to any federal agency which collects electronic data within this state.”

The NSA brought its Bluffdale data center online about a year ago, taking advantage Utah’s cheap power and a cut-rate deal for millions of gallons of local water, used to cool the 1-million-square-foot building’s servers. Roberts’ bill, however, would prohibit the NSA from negotiating new water deals when its current Bluffdale agreement runs out in 2021.

The law seems like a long-shot to clear legislative hurdles when Utah’s legislature re-convenes next year, but Wednesday’s committee hearing was remarkable, nonetheless, says Nate Carlisle, a reporter with the Salt Lake Tribune who has waged a fight with the NSA and Bluffdale officials to determine how much water the data center is actually using. “What’s noteworthy is no one on the panel said: ‘Hey, wait a minute, we can’t do this,’” he says. “They had some specific concerns about the language of the bill, but there was no outright opposition.” [Continue reading…]

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1 thought on “Utah considers cutting off water to the NSA’s monster data center

  1. pabelmont

    Presumably a town could refuse to sell town water to a marijuana-grower (where illegal), to a water-mining operation (e.g, Coca Cola), to a non-resident. Maybe NSA is a non-resident. But if someone starts a business in a town, isn’t a public accommodation (and surely a water company is such) required to serve all residents and local businesses?

    Of course, they could charge the very highest rate for the water. If therer were a water shortage, I guess they could limit supplies.

    Anyway, and “whatever”, what fun!

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