Ecology holds air quality permit hearing for CyrusOne data center
The Washington state Department of Ecology’s open house and public hearing on a permit for a proposed data center to be built in Quincy drew a handful of attendees June 13.
CyrusOne Inc. has applied for an air quality permit from Ecology for a new data center in Quincy. In its application, the company proposed 42 backup generators.
The event was held in the Quincy Valley Business & Conference Center and featured three information stations around the main hall. Attendees had an hour to learn about the site, health impacts and permit details at the separate stations and to talk with representatives of CyrusOne and Ecology officials.
CyrusOne had several representatives at the meeting answering questions. Spokesman David Baum said the company works with some of the largest companies in the world, and the Quincy data center would be CyrusOne’s 46th data center globally.
Growth in the technology sector in the Pacific Northwest was a big draw for the company to come to Quincy, Baum said, along with growth in the cloud and artificial intelligence. The cloud makes AI possible, he added, and it requires a tremendous amount of computing power. And, technology is continuing to grow in importance within businesses everywhere.
“Every company is a tech company” these days, he said.
The company has headquarters in Dallas, Texas, and Baum called the company the largest data center provider in Texas.
Ecology’s Cynthia Wall led the formal public hearing – an opportunity for anyone to speak about the project. It lasted about five minutes, because only one resident, Danna Dal Porto, chose to present a comment at the hearing. Ecology also has other methods of submitting comments.
“I am here because as a Quincy resident for 39 years … I want to learn about any development that emits hazardous materials into the air we breathe,” Dal Porto said.
“I can see the pink diesel plume over town during the frequent inversions we have here,” she said.
Dal Porto said she is part of a residents group she called MYTAPN, short for “Microsoft Yes, Toxic Air Pollution No.”
“We are not against industry … but we do have some concerns about our air quality,” she said.
Dal Porto has attended similar hearings and has studied concerns about data centers for years. At the hearing, she made points about diesel particulates, pollution sources and Ecology’s work and documents. She concluded by saying that based on conversations she had with officials during the open house, she would submit more comments online, using Ecology’s regular comment system.
The Department of Ecology has recommended approval of the permit.
Later, in an interview, Dal Porto said, “I am committed to making sure things are above board and honest. … If there are opportunities to speak up for your community, you should.”
The public comment period closed on June 17. A response to comments submitted will be placed on an Ecology webpage: www.ecology.wa.gov/DataCenters.
The CyrusOne data center is planned to be built at 1025 D St. NW, Quincy. The site is on the western side of another data center, NTTData Western Technology Center, a facility that was formerly part of Dell.
CyrusOne would be the eighth data center campus in Quincy.
Using the number of backup generators at each campus as a rough measure of the size of the operations, CyrusOne’s 42 generators would place it about in the middle of the range of data centers in Quincy.
By Dave Burgess, email@example.com