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DATA CENTERS: Please Contact These State Legislators

House and Senate Committees to Hold Hearings on 2/22


Governor Moore has submitted a bill called the "Critical Infrastructure Streamlining Act of 2024" (SB 474, HB 0579). As proposed, the Governor’s bill would result in exempting data center diesel backup generators from being reviewed by the Maryland Public Service Commission for a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity (CPCN). You’ll remember that last fall, the MD Public Service Commission cited environmental impacts when they denied Allied Data Centers the CPCN exemption for 168 diesel generators at their Quantum Loophole site. The Governor’s bill is designed to remove that regulatory obstacle to data center development and operation. Read the Frederick News Post coverage here.


Sugarloaf Alliance opposes the Governor’s bill. Read more and see the legislation’s text here. Please take a few minutes NOW to write to the members of the House and Senate Committees to express your concern. Email addresses are linked below.


Here are some talking points you might draw from to express your concern:


  • The Public Service Commission’s process for issuing a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity (CPCN) is a well-established and clear process that allows for appropriate public involvement in projects of this size and should be retained for this new industry. 


  • As Maryland shifts to clean energy to achieve its climate goals, it would be a major step in the wrong direction to exempt large numbers of diesel generators that can produce the equivalent amount of electricity and pollution as many power plants in the region. 

  • We oppose the bill’s intention to exempt power plant-sized circuits of diesel generators without opportunity for substantive public involvement. At the Quantum Loophole site alone, over 1000 generators are expected to provide a total of 2.4 gigawatts of energy, enough to power 600,000 new homes, roughly two times the number of housing units in Baltimore.   

  • Without a comprehensive CPCN review, potential air and water pollution could directly impact communities, sensitive ecosystems, and some of the state’s most treasured parks and natural resources. C&O Canal National Historical Park, Monocacy Battlefield, Sugarloaf Mountain, Montgomery County's Agricultural Reserve, the Monocacy and Potomac Rivers and creeks all are close to proposed data center development sites in north Montgomery and south Frederick County.  


  • Maryland has been a national leader in climate goals and actions to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, with targets of 60% reduction by 2031 and zero by 2045. The majority of the tax benefit to Maryland from data centers will come from existing taxes on increased electricity use (sales and franchise taxes). In this time of climate change, does it make sense from a policy perspective for Maryland to raise money by encouraging enormous increases in fossil fuel energy use just so Maryland can tax that energy use? 

Legislators need to hear from us: Our expectation should be for industry to accommodate Maryland environmental standards - not the other way around.

Senate Education, Energy, and the Environment Committee Members:,,,,,,,,,,


House Economic Matters Committee Members:,,,,,,,,,,,,,


Data Centers Workgroup Subcommittees Report 


On 1/25, the Data Centers Workgroup Subcommittees reported on their work. Generally speaking, their recommendations agree with Sugarloaf Alliance positions, including the recommendation that data centers not be sited in Treasured Landscape, and specifically not inside the Sugarloaf Plan area. Read the Frederick News Post report on the 1/25 meeting here.


That said, Workgroup Co-Chair and Council Member Renee Knapp carefully qualified her description of next steps. The Workgroup’s last meeting was 1/25. The subcommittee recommendations will be written up in a final report (it’s not clear by whom) and submitted to the County Executive. The County Executive will take their recommendations into consideration going forward. Implementation of the recommendations would come in the form of proposed legislation to be considered by the County Council, which (last December) voted 5-2 against prohibiting data centers in the Sugarloaf Plan area. 


Sugarloaf Alliance has emailed the Workgroup co-chairs requesting that a draft of the final report be made available to the Workgroup and the public for comment prior to its finalization.

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