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Tuesday, July 23, 2024

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Gov. Whitmer endorses Kamala Harris for president, says she's not leaving Michigan; Grilled by lawmakers on the Trump assassination attempt, Secret Service director says, 'We failed;' Teachers rally at national convention in Houston; Opioid settlement fund fuels anti-addiction battle in Indiana; Nonprofit agency says corporate donations keep programs going.

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Democrats consolidate support behind Vice President Harris, Republicans threaten legal action over changes to the presidential ticket, and a possible bipartisan consensus forms on the failure of the Secret Service to protect former President Trump.

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It's grass-cutting season and with it, rural lawn mower races, Montana's drive-thru blood project is easing shortages, rural Americans spend more on food when transportation costs are tallied, and a lack of good childcare is thwarting rural business owners.

VA groups host rally against 'unchecked' data center growth

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Friday, May 31, 2024   

Virginians are coming together for a rally this Sunday to voice concerns about data center expansion.

Lawmakers, community leaders and environmental groups worry about a lack of safeguards on data center growth in Virginia. Data centers support more than 78,000 jobs and generate billions in tax revenue but the groups said they pose hidden harms to local residents.

Tim Cywinski, communications director for the Virginia chapter of the Sierra Club, said the Prince William Gateway project is one example of the massive amounts of resources data centers use.

"It will require upwards of three gigawatts of power," Cywinski pointed out. "It means about two million homes, that's the equivalent amount of power. And powering just that one data center is more power than the entire city of Austin, for example. You can't supply that power right now in Virginia, it's impossible."

He added utility companies like Dominion Energy are building fossil fuel plants to generate the necessary electricity. Some are convinced this is what Dominion's gas-powered plant in Chesterfield will be used for. The plant has been met with widespread opposition from community members and lawmakers.

State and federal policies could align Virginia's current data center growth with its climate goals. But numerous bills introduced in the past General Assembly session to do so did not advance. Cywinski thinks the successfully passed legislation on data centers is woefully inadequate.

"What they did pass was a JLARC (Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission) study to see what the impact of data center growth is going to look like," Cywinski explained. "That's all well and good, five years ago. But we've reached the point of crisis when it comes to this issue, and a JLARC study is not enough."

At the rate data centers are growing, Dominion Energy reported the facilities will require an added 8 gigawatts of power, quadruple the output of Virginia's North Anna nuclear facility. The projects are slated to double by 2040.

Disclosure: The Sierra Club contributes to our fund for reporting on Climate Change/Air Quality, Energy Policy, Environment, and Environmental Justice. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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