Not Only Will The NSA Store All Our Data In Bluffdale, Utah, Now They'll Get A Tax Break On Their Electricity Too
from the uh,-wait-a-second dept
By now, I assume many of you are quite familiar with the NSA’s new data center in Bluffdale, Utah. Among other features, part of the site’s claim to fame was the amount of electricity it would need — leading local power company Rocky Mountain Power to build the NSA their very own substation — just for the center. Lucky them. Of course, power doesn’t come cheap, and James Bamford’s article about the center estimated the energy costs to be around $40 million per year. However, that cost went up a bit due to a Utah state law that came into effect on April 1st (no, seriously) that would add a 6% tax on energy bills. That means, if the $40 million estimate was correct, it would be an additional $2.4 million per year for the NSA.
And the NSA threw a complete hissy fit, sending a series of complaints to Utah Governor Gary Herbert’s staff about the law
“We are quite concerned [about] this,” Harvey Davis, NSA director of installations and logistics, wrote in the April 26 email, obtained through a Utah open records law request.
In a follow-up email Davis sent 31 minutes later, he explained: “The long and short of it is: Long-term stability in the utility rates was a major factor in Utah being selected as our site for our $1.5 billion construction at Camp Williams. HB325 runs counter to what we expected.”
The NSA also claimed that former governor John Huntsmann had promised them that there would be no tax increases on the facility for the first six years. Utah officials insisted that they had been quite clear all along about the possible impact of this bill, but the NSA apparently didn’t pay attention. But, of course, this is the NSA, and what the NSA wants… the NSA gets. The Utah Military Installation Development Authority (who helped create this tax) claims that it didn’t know about this mysterious “promise” of no tax increases for six years:
It knows now, according to Rick Mayfield, director of MIDA, who announced yesterday that an attorney from MIDA was negotiating with one from NSA to write an amendment exempting the datacenter from the increased power tax. It isn’t clear if the exemption would be for six years or be permanent. The Utah Legislature would vote on the bill when it comes back into session in January. “What we didn’t understand was the prior administration made a promise that for six years there wouldn’t be an increase,”
So, not only do the NSA get to keep spying on us, but they get to do it for tax breaks.