Legislation to regulate data centers Va

Three bills to regulate Virginia’s burgeoning data center industry have failed to pass the General Assembly.

This article was written by news partner WTOP InsideNoVa.com and reprinted by permission. Subscribe to Free InsideNoVa.com email subscription today.

Three bills to regulate Virginia’s burgeoning data center industry have failed to pass the General Assembly.

Del. Danica Roehm, Prince William County, and Sen. Chep Petersen, Fairfax County, filed several bills this year to strengthen regulations and scrutinize the industry.

The duo’s three bills would specifically block the controversial PW Digital Gateway, a proposed 27.6-million-square-foot data center on 2,139 acres along Pageland Lane in west Prince William.

Prince William Board of Supervisors approved project recommendations Nov. 2 after more than nine hours of public hearings and approximately 14 hours of hearings. In the general development guidelines, amendments to the comprehensive plan, specific construction plans are not considered.

QTS Realty Trust Inc. and Compass Data Centers are looking for zone changes for the development of the area.

Bills on the table

Roehm’s House Bill 1986 and Joint Resolution 522 were introduced by House of Delegates committees last week, mainly by lawmakers representing areas not affected or slightly affected by data center development.

HB 1986 would have required the State Water Board to adopt requirements for certain stormwater management practices for data centers within one mile of state or federal land. It would also require any data centers within one mile of state or federal land to reuse stormwater runoff that exceeds the level generated on existing land.

A subcommittee of the Committee on Commerce and Energy introduced the bill on a 6-1 vote on January 26.

The motion for discussion was seconded by Dells. Christopher Head, R-Roanoke; Cathy Byron, R-Bedford; Israel O’Quinn, R-Bristol; Joseph McNamara, R-Roanoke; Cliff Hayes, Chesapeake State, and Rip Sullivan, Arlington State.

Del. Lamont Bagby, Dr. Richmond, opposed the motion.

The subcommittee did not discuss the bill before it was introduced.

HJ 522 was referred to the Rules Committee on January 30 by a vote of 3-2. The resolution ordered the Virginia Department of Energy to study the impact of data center development on the state’s environment, economy, energy resources and carbon reduction. goals.

“All this bill does, in its simplest form, is ask us to look at what we’re doing before we do it,” Roem said.

Byron and Head were joined by Del. Tony Wilt, R-Rockingham, in introducing the bill. Dales. Charniel Henry, Alexandria, Va., and D.L. Scott, of Portsmouth, opposed the motion. Committee Chairman Robert Orrock, R-Pa., abstained.

“Northern Virginia is already the data center capital of the world, and we need to know what we’re getting ourselves into with the expansion of an already fast-growing industry that consumes enormous amounts of water and energy,” Roehm said.

The committee also did not discuss the legislation before it was introduced. Still, Orrock noted, it ranks first as “the most email contact I’ve had on any piece of legislation.”

“By your standards, my mailbox has been blown up more than everyone else’s combined,” he told Roehm.

The 1974 HB suffered a similar fate

Roehmo’s HB 1974 cleared a subcommittee of the Commerce and Energy Committee on Jan. 24, but was brought up for consideration by the full committee on Tuesday in an 11-9 vote.

Legislation requires the State Corporation Commission to issue a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity for the construction of power lines with a voltage of at least 69 kilovolts along the highway right-of-way.

Currently, the KDC has to issue a certificate only on lines of 115 kilovolts and above. However, Roehm’s bill would only apply to Virginia Department of Transportation Planning District 8, which is Prince William, Loudoun, Arlington and Fairfax counties, and the cities of Manassas, Manassas Park, Fairfax, Falls Church and Alexandria.

The subcommittee recommended that the full committee pass the bill by a 6-2 vote. Wilt, Scott and Hayes joined in bipartisan support for Dels. Terry Kilgore, R-Scott, Daniel Marshall, R-Danville, and Kay Corey, D-Falls Church.

O’Quinn et al. Rep. Amanda Batten, R-James City, D.C., opposed it.

Two delays

Meanwhile, in the Senate, Petersen’s legislation was combined into one committee.

Petersen’s Senate Bill 1078 would prohibit local governments from approving data centers within one mile of a national or state park or other “historically significant site.”

Digital Gateway is within one mile of Conway Robinson State Forest and Manassas Battlefield National Park.

The bill was referred to the Committee on Local Government, but that group moved it to the Rules Committee on Jan. 23.

Local Government Committee Chairman Lynnwood Lewis, D-Ackomack, said Rules Committee Chairwoman Sen. Mamie Locke, D-Hampton, requested the move. He said Locke’s committee is reviewing Petersen’s decision to study the data center industry and believes both bills should be considered by the same committee.

At the hearing, Sen. Emmett Hanger, R-Augusta, said the local government committee should at least hear testimony on the bill, but a motion was made to carry the legislation. It passed on a 7-3 vote, with Hunger and Sens. Bryce Reeves, R-Spotsylvania, and Travis Hackworth, R-Tazewell, opposing the motion.

Petersen said Prince William Times that the moves are “not a good sign” and “obviously there are people working behind the scenes to defeat this bill, but I’m not deterred.”

Senator Jeremy McPike, Prince William, supported the proposal, but told local media that he was undecided on his position on the proposal.

A hearing on Petersen’s counts is scheduled for 10 a.m. Friday.

Source link

USA News