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Letter: Supporting the ban on abortion is bad business

Baesler says Gov. Burgum's plans for huge data centers in North Dakota may go down the drain now.

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Gov. Burgum has shown he understands how to attract large tech firms and the billions of dollars’ worth of investment, jobs and tax revenue they bring. When Amazon broke ground for its fulfillment center in Fargo, the governor declared: “We’re ready to compete with anyone, anywhere, any time, with speed and agility, to attract the top employers to come here.”

So, how have our nation’s top employers responded to the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision on abortion rights?

Tesla, Google, Salesforce and Intel have declared their willingness to cover their employees’ travel expenses if they needed to go to another state for an abortion. Google and Salesforce have offered relocation benefits for affected employees who want to move.

Why should we care what those companies think? Well, as of late June, the market value of Tesla, Google, Salesforce, and Intel exceeded $2.5 trillion. North Dakota’s gross domestic product is $55.7 billion.

Those four companies all operate huge data centers. They require an incredible amount of energy. North Dakota has the resources to support that infrastructure.

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More on data centers
Two Montana cryptocurrency companies debuted plans to develop a massive data center west of Williston, with aims of achieving a 700-megawatt scale within two years.

Our climate reduces data center cooling costs. We have ready access to inexpensive electric power. Our flat, open landscape makes construction easier and less costly. Our state’s tax structure encourages and supports new business.

Now it seems this matters little. Businesses like these will not look to North Dakota. Why would they? Corporations like that realize that North Dakota’s abortion ban would alienate young, top talent.

This one hurts because of what could have been.

Lee Baesler lives in Mandan, N.D.

This letter does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Forum's editorial board nor Forum ownership.

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