What you need to know, currently.
Last Tuesday, the New York State Assembly passed a two year moratorium on “proof-of-work” bitcoin mining that uses fossil fuels. Should the bill pass the State Senate and gain approval from Governor Hochul, it would be the most ambitious step to curb crypto-mining in the country.
A crypto mining outfit called Greenidge Generation, which operates out of a shuttered coal plant in Dresden, NY, has become a particular flashpoint. The coal plant was converted to burn natural gas and sits on the shore of Seneca Lake. It uses millions of gallons of water for cooling; when that water is released back into the lake it’s significantly warmer, which can drastically affect plants and wildlife.
“When we first moved here, you would see all manner of species and species and numbers of fish off the end of our dock, and we don’t see that anymore,” Ken Campbell, a retired sociology and psychology teacher, told Gothamist.
Crypto mining companies are fairly vampiric and thus have been particularly attracted to upstate New York, which has an abundance of decaying infrastructure and tax breaks designed to lure industry back to the Rust Belt. The city of Plattsburgh briefly imposed a moratorium after crypto mining stressed the city’s energy infrastructure.
“I’m pro-economic development,” Colin Read, a professor of economics and finance at SUNY Plattsburgh told MIT Technology Review, “but the biggest mine operation has fewer jobs than a new McDonald’s.”