Revenue, jobs potential spurs push for data centers

Opponents worry it will hinder states’ environmental goals.
Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves (R) receives applause from House Speaker Jason White (R) and Republican Lt. Gov. Delbert Hosemann (R), as well as a bipartisan group of legislators, for pursing a package of state incentives to support a plan by Amazon Web Services to build two data centers in the central part of the state, Thursday, Jan. 25, 2024, during the celebratory announcement at the Mississippi Capitol in Jackson, Miss. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

Lawmakers in at least eight states are considering or have already passed legislation to encourage data center construction, reflecting the desire to attract a booming industry that is also raising environmental concerns.

The Maryland legislature on Friday gave final approval to a bill that Gov. Wes Moore (D) requested in response to a data center company pulling out of a major project after being denied an exemption to build enough diesel-powered backup generators necessary to run it during an emergency. The measure would exempt such companies from the requirement to obtain a certificate of public convenience and necessity.

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