Utah Rep. Introduces Bill to Cut off Water to the NSA Data Center

Utah state Representative Marc Roberts is ready to try again to cut off the water to the massive National Security Agency (NSA) data center near Salt Lake City.

Although the legislation won’t be considered by the state house of representatives until sometime early in 2015, Roberts’ bill, H.B. 161, is already facing scrutiny from some of his fellow lawmakers. Members of the Public Utilities and Technology Interim Committee met to conduct preliminary hearings into the ends and means of the measure. As reported by the Salt Lake Tribune:

A Utah legislative committee on Wednesday asked a lawmaker to refine a bill that seeks to — eventually — shut off water to the National Security Agency’s data center in Bluffdale.

Committee members expressed some concerns with the bill but no outright opposition. They asked the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Marc Roberts, R-Santaquin, to better define who would be impacted by the bill.

The members also asked questions on whether Utah taxpayers are supporting the NSA.

“I just don’t want to subsidize what they’re doing on the back of our citizens,” said Rep. Roger Barrus, R-Centerville.

The committee heard a report on how Bluffdale issued $3.5 million in bonds to pay for water lines leading to the Utah Data Center. Bluffdale agreed to sell the NSA water at a rate below the city guidelines in order to secure the contract.

Bluffdale leaders believe the agreement will bring long-term benefits to the town by helping finance infrastructure that will attract new businesses.

The bill is similar to one offered by Roberts during the last legislative session.

In fairness, HB 161 wouldn’t immediately close the spigot at the massive surveillance complex. The bill would prohibit a renewal of the current contract which is due to expire in 2021.