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Local Businesses in New York Urge Governor to Impose Statewide Bitcoin Mining Moratorium

The governor of New York state, Kathy Hochul, has been urged by a group of local companies to deny business permits to bitcoin miners. The letter specifically asks for the “denial of permits for the Greenidge Generating Station and the Fortistar North Tonawanda Facility.” The letter also calls for the New York government to assess “proof-of-work” (PoW) digital currency mining in the state as the local businesses believe PoW mining “drastically undermines New York’s climate goals.”

Local Businesses From New York Urge Governor Kathy Hochul to Impose a Statewide Bitcoin Mining Moratorium

Climate change is a big deal to a number of local businesses in the state of New York as a large coalition of companies has urged governor Kathy Hochul to deny bitcoin mining permits. The coalition’s letter is backed by businesses and organizations such as Seatuck Environmental Association, Ravines Wine Cellars, Peconic Baykeeper, Nassau Hiking & Outdoor Club, NYPAN Environmental Committee, Mothers Out Front New York, and New Yorkers for Clean Power.

“We, the undersigned organizations, businesses, and labor groups, write today to urge your administration to issue a statewide moratorium on proof-of-work (PoW) cryptocurrency mining until a thorough statewide Generic Environmental Impact Statement (GEIS) is conducted, and to deny the permits for the Greenidge Generating Station and the Fortistar North Tonawanda Facility,” the letter states. The letter, published to earthjustice.org on October 13, adds:

“These ‘mining’ activities, particularly proof-of-work cryptocurrency mining use enormous amounts of energy to power the computers needed to conduct business – should this activity expand in New York, it could drastically undermine New York’s climate goals established under the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act.”

New York’s Bumpy Relationship With Bitcoin Mining

The state of New York (NY) is no stranger to such controversies over bitcoin mining as debate over the subject has raged on for a few years now. In 2018, a number of counties in NY, like the Plattsburgh Common Council, passed new guidelines for miners that aimed to control noise and fire safety regulations. Despite the stricter rules in specific areas, bitcoin miners have been flocking to NY over the last two years. Meanwhile, as miners entered the New York market, operations started getting complaints from local neighbors and NY politicians.

In December 2020, an environmental organization called Sierra Club, a committee aimed at preserving the Finger Lakes region, filed a lawsuit against the NY town of Torrey for allowing the Greenidge Generation power plant to expand its mining operations. Sierra Club asked the town of Torrey and the Torrey Planning Board to block the construction with an injunction. Senator Kevin Parker (D) believes bitcoin miners should halt operations over climate change concerns as well.

In May 2021, senator Parker introduced legislation to address these concerns as he explained that bitcoin mining “threatens not only New York’s climate goals, under the CLCPA, but also global energy policy, such as the Paris Agreement.”

Parker’s bill aimed to impose a moratorium on the operation of cryptocurrency mining centers until the NY government could complete an assessment of the environmental impact. If the moratorium was imposed, bitcoin mining operations that could prove the business does not “adversely affect the state greenhouse gas emission targets in the climate leadership and community protection act of 2019,” could operate legally under NY law.

Letter Stresses ‘Climate Crisis in New York Is Here Now’

The recent letter to NY governor Kathy Hochul says that bitcoin mining facilities are threatening the state’s advances toward addressing climate change.

“In New York, data mining operations using warehouses full of computers have set up shop in upstate areas siphoning electricity from New York’s grid, ‘re-powering’ defunct fossil-fueled power plants, thus seriously jeopardizing the state’s progress on and meeting mandates for reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions,” the letter emphasizes.

The letter stresses that the group of local businesses want governor Hochul to act now. The letter concludes:

“As you have witnessed in your early weeks on the job, the climate crisis in New York is here now. New York City recently saw unprecedented flooding that led to the loss of lives – strong climate action is needed now more than ever. We urge you to lead the way and set a national precedent on the issue of proof-of-work cryptocurrency by issuing a statewide moratorium and denying the permits for Greenidge and Fortistar. Thank you for your time and consideration of our comments.”

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What do you think about the letter to NY governor Kathy Hochul that wants a statewide moratorium placed on bitcoin mining operations in New York? Let us know what you think about this subject in the comments section below.

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