Gov. Gary Herbert and National Security Agency officials are confident they can work out an agreement to avert taxing the new Utah Data Center on millions of dollars in electricity it needs to run the mammoth computer farm.
The Legislature this year passed and Herbert signed a new law that would allow the Utah Military Installation Development Authority (MIDA) to collect a tax of up to 6 percent on electricity flowing from Rocky Mountain Power to the new Bluffdale data center.
The law irked NSA officials, though the parties now say tweaks can be made to exempt the center, which was located in Utah partly because of the cheap energy costs.
“There’s probably more than one way to skin the cat but the bottom line would end up being … that NSA will not be charged something in addition to what they were told to begin with,” Herbert told The Salt Lake Tribune this week. “I believe the NSA had a legitimate complaint and that complaint is going to be dealt with by the Legislature in a satisfactory way to the NSA.”
Harvey Davis, NSA director of installations and logistics, had raised concerns in emails to Herbert’s office after learning of the new law.
On Thursday, Davis said in an interview he was confident it would be worked out so that the agency doesn’t face larger energy bills.
“That was just more of a hiccup,” Davis said. “Sometimes things get through legislatively that people really aren’t focused on and as soon as the governor and I saw that, there was a commitment to fix it right away, get us back to status quo. I think it was much to do about nothing.”
———-Read the rest of the report online at The Salt Lake Tribune.