Department of Ecology News Release - November 30, 2010

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Community forum set to discuss data center effects on air quality

SPOKANE — The Washington State Department of Ecology (Ecology) is hosting a community forum on Monday, Dec. 13, in Quincy, to discuss air quality and data centers.

In October, Ecology approved an application from Microsoft to expand the number of backup diesel generators at the Columbia Data Center. Because backup generators are large and run on diesel, data centers are required to have a permit from Ecology before construction begins. Diesel engine exhaust is regulated because it contains toxic air pollutants.

“Companies are finding that Quincy is a good place to build data centers. That’s good for the local economy, but we want to make sure that people understand how air quality is affected,” said Greg Flibbert, Ecology’s project manager for the data center permits in Quincy. “We’ve received numerous questions from a few people asking us to clarify the science that has gone into the permitting effort so far. We want to make sure that others have the opportunity to talk with us as well. This forum will give us a chance to meet each other face to face and talk about the data center projects.”

Between 2006 and 2008, Microsoft, Yahoo! and Intuit built data centers in Quincy. A bill passed by the state legislature in 2010 temporarily exempted data centers from state sales tax. This is expected to bring other data centers to Quincy in the next year.

The community forum will be held Monday, Dec. 13, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Grant County Fire District #3, 1201 Central Ave. South, Quincy. For more information about the data centers and associated air quality permits, go to the Air Quality and Quincy Data Centers website. Or contact Greg Flibbert in the Ecology’s Eastern Regional Office, Spokane, at 509-329-3400.

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Media Contacts:
Cathy Cochrane, Communications, 509-329-3433; cathy.cochrane@ecy.wa.gov or
Jani Gilbert, Communications, 509-329-3495; jani.gilbert@ecy.wa.gov

For more information:
Air Quality and Quincy Data Centers website ( http://www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/air/quincydatacenter )