April 5, 2014
The NSA’s new home in Utah is increasingly looking like a bad idea. While local politicians were likely delighted to have a federal money funnel set up shop in state, that initial euphoria has faded in the wake of the Snowden leaks.
Multiple legislative attempts have been mounted by various states to basically nullify the NSA’s programs, either directly or indirectly. In Utah, the leverage point has been the public utilities. There is no doubt that the NSA’s new data center consumes massive amounts of electricity. But it also goes through water like… water. Not much is known about how much the data center uses (estimates place it at about 1.2 million gallons a day), but one fact that has emerged so far is that the NSA is paying far less ($2.05 vs. $3.35) per thousand gallons than other high-volume businesses.
The Tenth Amendment Center has been pushing for the adoption of legislation aimed at cutting off public support (meaning “public utilities”) for the NSA’s domestic surveillance programs. While this legislative battle has been moving forward, attempts to gain more insight into the NSA’s utility usage have been stonewalled by both the City of Bluffdale and the NSA itself.
This month, the Utah State Records Committee ruled that the City of Bluffdale must release water records pertaining to the massive NSA data center located there.
Salt Lake City Tribune reporter Nate Carlisle pursued the information, and his success shows how a series of small, seemingly insignificant actions can lead to a major victory.
The committee voted unanimously to require the city to make details of the NSA’s water use public last week.
This article was posted: Saturday, April 5, 2014 at 4:34 am