A new bill in New York is attempting to ban crypto mining. Called the Proof of Work Mining Bill, the bill would study the environmental impact of the mining operations and their potential impact on New York’s climate goals. Under the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, New York must reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 85% by 2050. The support for the bill is tied to the state’s mandate to transition to sustainable energy.
The proposed law would place a two-year moratorium on bitcoin miners powered by fossil fuels. It would not prevent less-energy-intensive forms of cryptocurrency generation, such as proof-of-stake mining. However, it would make it more challenging to start bitcoin mining operations in New York. The legislation would not affect existing bitcoin mining operations. However, the bill does include a provision that requires the state to conduct an environmental impact assessment of crypto mining operations.
The Climate Action Council is a 22-member committee charged with coming up with a plan for New York to achieve its climate goals. The Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act requires the state to cut its greenhouse gas emissions by 40% in the coming years and to have a 100% renewable power industry by 2040. Crypto mining would undermine those goals by causing energy bills to rise for everyday New Yorkers and depleting renewable energy.
According to the legislation, crypto mining facilities also negatively impact local economies. They are noisy and depress property values in regional areas. Additionally, power plants use more water than any other industry. The Greenidge Generation, for instance, dumps water into Seneca Lake at temperatures of up to 108 degrees, and the once-thorough cooling process kills billions of fish each year. In addition, crypto mining facilities are damaging the environment.
The bill has passed the State Assembly, but the state senate has to pass the measure before it can become law. A moratorium on crypto mining operations could trend toward a more sustainable digital asset industry. While environmental advocates have criticized it as a greedy industry, it could help push the digital asset industry down the road to a more sustainable path.
A crypto mining moratorium in New York would stop the expansion of the state’s crypto mining industry and require a massive reduction in emissions from fossil fuels and other energy sources.
Proponents of a crypto mining moratorium in New York have raised concerns that other fossil fuel power plants may follow Greenidge’s example and threaten the state’s CLCPA emissions targets. Environmental justice has warned that nearly 30 older power plants could follow Greenidge’s lead.