Environmentalists go after New York in court over cryptocurrency mining policy

Environmentalists go after New York in court over cryptocurrency mining policy

New York is curbing crypto mining, but environmentalists feel the move doesn’t go far enough

Late last week, environmental activists filed a lawsuit against the New York Public Service Commission (PSC) for approving a cryptocurrency mining facility in the state. According to several reports in September last year, the PSC authorized the Fortistar North power plant to become a cryptocurrency mining site. This was clearly not welcome news to environmental advocates, and now they did not hesitate to take legal action.

The cryptocurrency mining facility is located in Tonawanda, a few miles from Niagara Falls. However, this facility was to be acquired by Digihost, a respected Canadian cryptomining firm.

According to the lawsuit’s arguments, this approval violates the New York Climate Act of 2019. Under the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA), ambitious goals have been set, such as achieving zero-emission electricity by 2040 and an 85% reduction in statewide emissions by 2050.

The Sierra Club and the Western New York Clean Air Coalition, represented by the nonprofit firm Earthjustice, are behind the lawsuit. They allege that, compared to operating during periods of high electricity demand, such as extreme weather conditions, operating Fortistar’s plants as cryptocurrency mines could lead to a significant increase in greenhouse gas emissions of up to 3,000%, despite the site operating 24 hours a day.

Environmental advocates strongly insist that Empire State officials conduct thorough environmental analyses and studies when reviewing projects. In October 2021, a collective of local businesses sent an impassioned plea to the state government to reject the proposed conversion of the power plant into a cryptomining facility due to various concerns.



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