New York Governor Seeks to Close Bitcoin Mining Firm

New York Governor Seeks to Close Bitcoin Mining Firm

July 27, 2022

Kathy Hochul – the governor of New York – and her administration is moving to shut down a crypto mining operation in the Finger Lakes, claiming it is creating too much pollution.

New York Has Suddenly Become So Anti-Crypto

In a recent statement, DEC commissioner Basil Seggos explained:

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… Any increase in emissions at this point makes it challenging for us to hit our targets which are very ambitious. As a slice of total emissions, this is but one operation, but we are looking economywide… and we need to begin putting in place these strategies to reduce emissions as quickly as possible.

Hochul is facing pressure to sign a crypto moratorium that was recently passed by the New York State Senate. This moratorium would prevent any new crypto mining companies from entering the Empire State and setting up headquarters there. While it’s unclear if Hochul is planning to sign the moratorium into law, it appears she is taking baby steps towards preventing crypto from having any serious presence in her state.

The mining operation comes by way of Greenidge Generation Holdings Inc. It employs approximately 50 people and is alleged to house roughly 17,000 mining rigs. The company said in a statement that it’s planning to appeal the decision and will remain in operation until further action is taken. It explained:

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.’

Several individuals praised the idea of going after the crypto mining plant. Yvonne Taylor – vice president of the Seneca Lake Guardian – explained in a statement:

Governor Hochul and the DEC stood with science and the people and sent a message to outside speculators: New York’s former fossil fuel-burning plants are not yours to reopen as gas-guzzling bitcoin mining cancers on our communities.

How Many Emissions?

The DEC has rejected an initial argument from Greenidge that its plant would be responsible for only a fraction of the emissions in New York. The agency said:

Achieving the statewide GHG emission limits will require substantial action prior to 2030, including to transition the energy sector away from its reliance on fossil fuels. Even during the permit term, the facility’s continued operation for the purpose of providing energy behind the meter to its crypto mining operations would make achievement of the statewide GHG emission limits more difficult.

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