New York Moves to Shut Down Crypto Mining Facility
- The governor is facing mounting pressure to put a moratorium on additional cryptocurrency mining projects
- The 106 MW Greenidge plant’s Bitcoin mining facility employs around 17,000 miners
On Thursday, Gov. Kathy Hochul’s administration refused to issue Greenidge gas plant in the Finger Lakes a key permit for its crypto mining facility on grounds that the latter pollutes too much, violating the state’s climate law, Politico wrote.
The governor is also facing mounting pressure to put a moratorium on additional cryptocurrency mining projects in New York, powered by fossil fuel.
The 106 MW Greenidge plant’s formidable Bitcoin mining facility employs around 17,000 miners. Locals, regional winemakers, and New York legislators are aggressively opposed to the plant’s operations in the Empire State.
Basic Seggos, Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner, told Politico in an interview:
We are applying a new law to a new operation which had significant increases in emissions — almost tripling emissions. The company itself was unable to demonstrate that it could come into compliance with the law.
Greenidge plans to appeal
The plant is run by Greenidge Generation Holdings Inc., which issued a statement saying they would appeal the decision and it would be business as usual as the process transpires. The statement read:
We believe there is no credible legal basis whatsoever for a denial of this application because there is no actual threat to the State’s Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA) from our renewed permit. This is a standard air permit renewal governing emissions levels for a facility operating in full compliance with its existing permit today. It is not, and cannot be transformed into, a politically charged ‘cryptocurrency permit’.
Greenidge has around a month to lodge an administrative appeal against the decision. If it misses the deadline or does not lodge an appeal, the plant’s operations will terminate. Currently, it has about 50 employees.
Increased emissions threaten climate law enforcement
According to environmental advocates, the mining’s increased emissions threaten enforcement of the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, a sweeping legislative measure. It mandates cutting emissions 40 percent by 2030 (since 1990) and 85 percent in the next three decades.
The state’s decision to deny the permit has alarmed manufacturers, power companies, hospitals, and even universities looking to renew their permits. Greenidge argued that it only contributes a fraction of the emissions in New York, a claim the DEC rejected.
They also argued, unsuccessfully, that a permit expiring before 2030 couldn’t possibly stop New York from achieving its 2030 emissions goals.
Greenidge was founded as a coal plant almost a century ago. It went out of business in 2011. In 2017, a new entity acquired it and got state subsidies to convert to gas. In 2020, they started mining Bitcoin to increase profits.