New York Bitcoin Mine Remains Open: Why All The Chatter?

3 mins read

Listen to this article:

A bitcoin mine inside an old power station in New York State will remain operational after a decision on its future was put off until after the primary elections in June. 

Environmentalists, local residents, and crypto-hater Senator Elizabeth Warren have joined forces to try and shut down the mine in Dresden, which powers its operations using natural gas. 

The facility has been given a stay of execution, with the Department of Environmental Conservation announcing that a final decision on its future will be made on June 30.

If Greenidge, owners of the mine, are given the opportunity to keep mining at the old power station it could spark the creation of similar projects across the nation.

Last year, Greenidge applied for a standard state pollution permit and claimed that its mining facility produced 0.2% of the state’s 2030 emission target. 

“Our operations will continue uninterrupted during this period, in full compliance with our existing Permit,” Greenidge said in a statement. 

“We will continue to create great new jobs and career opportunities in a future-focused sector where New York should lead, and in a region where opportunity has long been too limited for too many.”

The company said it has reduced emissions by 70% and vowed to ensure that it does not increase pollution in the future. 

It claimed opponents have incorrectly alleged that it trying to seek permission to mine crypto when it is really applying for a permit controlling its emissions. 

The company added: “Notwithstanding the noise from our few remaining opponents, this is a standard air permit renewal governing permitted emissions levels, not a cryptocurrency permit.

“Their efforts to mislead the public – and to cause our team members and partners to lose their jobs without any basis in law or fact – have been shameful.

“The State of New York should lead, embracing the cryptocurrency industry and all the opportunity we’ve shown it can create for New Yorkers while complying with the nation’s most aggressive environmental standards and laws addressing climate change.”

Governor Kathy Hochul has been heavily criticized for putting off the decision on whether to grant Greenidge the permit it needs to continue mining and producing power. 

In a statement, Yvonne Taylor, vice president of the non-profit group Seneca Lake Guardian, said: “It is outrageous that Governor Hochul not only failed to act but punted a decision to after the primaries in an apparent attempt to cover her political interests.”

Greenidge insisted its operations were climate-neutral. Jeffrey Kirt, the CEO of Greenidge, previously claimed that bitcoin mining at Greenidge is “a model for the industry in that we are advancing this emerging financial platform for people across the world in a manner that fully protects our environment”.

This claim is very different from allegations made by residents as well as prominent opponents including Senator Elizabeth Warren. Last year, Warren issued a statement that raised “concerns over crypto mining's extraordinarily high energy usage”.

She alleged that the facility sent more than 220,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere –  equivalent to the emissions of 50,000 cars. 

Senator Warren also noted that local residents have experienced “declining water quality and substantial harm to local wildlife”. The plant “vacuums” millions of gallons of water a day from Seneca Lake and then discharges heated water back into it. Locals have reported seeing “sludge, algae, insects, dead fish, and foul smells”.

Warren said: “Bitcoin’s estimated annual power consumption increased more than threefold between the beginning of 2019 and May 2021, rivaling the total energy usage of countries such as Denmark, Chile, and Argentina, and comparable to the entire energy consumption of Washington State. 

“Given the extraordinarily high energy usage and carbon emissions associated with Bitcoin mining, mining operations at Greenidge and other plants raise concerns about their impacts on the global environment, on local ecosystems, and on consumer electricity costs.”


You may also like

Recent Articles