Enviros push back on bills giving tax breaks to data centers

May 14, 2024

Michigan Advance: Enviros push back on bills giving tax breaks to data centers

From the story:

A red push pin is put into a map of Michigan.
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As legislation aimed at enticing data centers to set up shop in Michigan makes its way out of the Senate and heads to the House, various advocacy groups are sounding the alarm on the potential harms these sites would bring.

On Monday, members of Clean Water Action, Michigan Climate Action network, Good Jobs First, Michigan Education Justice Coalition and other advocacy groups hosted a call to discuss the environmental and economic impacts new data centers would have on the state…

Pontiac City Councilperson Mikal Goodman also stressed the impact these facilities will have on low-income communities and communities of color which are already burdened with water affordability concerns.

As lawmakers discuss legislation to improve water affordability, the data center legislation has passed in the shadow of a “groundbreaking” climate package, Goodman said.

“Now that juxtaposition is made worse. We have so many people in Black and brown communities like Detroit who are given criminal charges or worse, for turning back on their water to make sure that they have a very needed resource for living. Meanwhile, we have data centers and large corporations like Google like Amazon, just having free rein and access to whatever resources that they need,” Goodman said.

“These exemptions are coming directly from the mouths of not only our community and our budget, but the quality of life of our residents,” Goodman said.

Many of the communities where these centers would be housed, such as Benton Harbor, are already facing issues with infrastructure and pollution, Goodman said.

“When we are giving these large exemptions, these large tax breaks to these businesses to these corporations, we are directly taking money out of our coffers to be able to do things,” Goodman said.

Read the full story at Michigan Advance.