Target: Utah Governor Gary Herbert
Goal: Prohibit the use of state resources by federal agencies that unconstitutionally collect electronic data.
A bill that would prohibit the allocation of resources by the state to federal agencies that relentlessly spy on Americans has been proposed in Utah. In 2013, the National Security Agency’s gargantuan $1.5 billion data center in Bluffdale, Utah began operations. To store a yottabyte of information, the site has an undisclosed number of servers requiring 65 megawatts of electricity per day, the equivalent to powering 65,00 homes, and uses roughly 1.5 million gallons of water per day for cooling purposes.
In 2014, State Representative Marc Roberts introduced the bill, H.B. 161, which directs municipalities like Bluffdale to “refuse to support any federal agency which collects electronic data within this state,” and would prohibit the NSA from negotiating new water deals when its current Bluffdale agreement runs out in 2021. The bill faces an uphill battle this year including opposition from the Governor who argued, “if it’s not stored in Utah, it’ll be stored somewhere else.”
It is a good thing, then, that legislators in South Carolina, Indiana, Missouri, and Alaska have all recently introduced similar legislation protecting our Fourth amendment right to protection against warrant-less searches. Sign the petition below to tell Gov. Herbert that taxpayer money and municipal water should not be doled out to federal agencies that unconstitutionally monitor its citizens.
Dear Governor Herbert,
The amount of buildings, employees, and resources devoted to what is known as the National Security Agency have gotten way out of hand. Hundreds of complexes have been built for projects with unrealistic ambitions that annually siphon tens of billions of dollars from the U.S. treasury and heavily tax municipal power grids.
Your state hosts one of the largest NSA complexes in the city of Bluffdale and it uses profligate water and electricity. The recently proposed bill, H.B. 161, would do what representatives in Washington D.C. have been unable to even contemplate: thwart the growth of the the NSA.
Although some will argue federal law would preempt this state law if it were to pass, many can see that it rests on a well-established legal principle known as the anti-commandeering doctrine wherein the federal government cannot force states to assist or provide assets for the implementation of a federal law. I urge you to reconsider your stance and support the future prohibition of aiding criminal organizations like the NSA by persuading your congress to pass this bill.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Greenpeace via Creative Commons