Martin M. Looney

Senate President Pro Tempore

Martin M. Looney

An Advocate for Us

March 1, 2021

Senate Leaders Announce Plans for Environmental Protections Regarding Data Centers

Senate is expected to pass data center bill from last week but committed to legislation later this session to address environmental aspects of data centers

Today, Senate President Martin M. Looney (D-New Haven), Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff (D-Norwalk), and Senate Chair of the Environment Committee Senator Christine Cohen (D-Guilford) announced a commitment to vote on a new bill later this legislative session to strengthen environmental protections around the emerging data center industry.

On Wednesday, the House of Representatives passed HB 6514, An Act Concerning Incentives for Qualified Data Centers to Locate in the State, which provides tax incentives to attract data centers to Connecticut. The Senate will take up the same bill today but plans to vote on a bill later on in the 2021 session to address the environmental impacts of data centers, including green building standards, emission standards for diesel generators used by data centers, and environmental justice. The future legislation would seek to address both ambient air quality and Connecticut’s greenhouse gas emission goals.

“Over my legislative career Connecticut has made steady and significant progress on environmental protection, undoing much of the damage caused by generations of polluting industry and inadequate government regulations,” said Senator Looney. “However, I see firsthand the fight that urban residents are still waging against polluters that threaten the health and safety of their community. The Senate plans to take up the bill to attract data centers today and a future bill to avoid contributing to the neglect of the environment which is unfortunately the legacy of the past and a burden on our present.”

“Connecticut is well positioned to attract new industries like data centers,” said Senator Duff. “We have some of the fastest latency speeds in the country, a highly trained workforce, homegrown tradespeople ready to build and the available real estate. With that in mind, we also have a responsibility to be good stewards for our environment. That means acknowledging climate change and mitigating environmental impacts. I look forward to building on Connecticut’s successes like our aggressive Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS), recent large procurement of wind energy and our growing solar industry. It’s not an ‘either/or’ scenario. We can build a twenty first century economy and breathe clean air at the same time.”

“Connecticut is a leader in protecting our air, water, and land ensuring a sustainable environment for future generations,” said Senator Cohen. “We want to continue our environmental progress and we must be mindful of that as we look to attract data centers. With new industry comes new environmental considerations and I am proud that we will be taking subsequent actions to strike that balance.”