When New York Governor Kathy Hochul signed a bill into law yesterday that halts a particularly filthy kind of cryptocurrency mining, efforts to reduce the pollution caused by the industry scored a significant victory.
A two-year freeze on new permits for specific fossil fuel power stations looking to mine cryptocurrency is mandated by the law.
In one well-known instance, a failing gas plant in the Finger Lakes region of New York overcome financial difficulties by mining Bitcoin. Environmentalists thought the moratorium would stop any additional gas or coal plants from becoming cryptocurrency miners after they might have otherwise been forced to close.
The ban only applies to cryptocurrency mining that makes use of proof-of-work, which is the incredibly energy-intensive method used by Bitcoin to validate transactions.
Due to miners’ continuous usage of specialized technology to upload blocks of validated transactions to the blockchain and generate new tokens in return. Bitcoin consumes as much electricity annually as a small nation.
The new rule in New York targets coal and gas power facilities that mining corporations are trying to utilize to power that process. It doesn’t control renewable energy miners. Or blockchains like Ethereum that have adopted a less-polluting validation technique.
The state must complete an environmental impact study on proof-of-work crypto mining in New York. While the moratorium is in effect, according to the statute.
The law is the nation’s first of its sort. And it represents a significant development for New York in the fight against the climate problem. Hochul published a memo yesterday.
The state’s climate ambitions would be derailed. According to supporters of the measure, if fossil fuel power facilities start operating as cryptocurrency mining. Some locals were particularly concerned about the Greenidge Generating Station, a power plant in the Finger Lakes that mines bitcoins. Due to its noise and potential effects on the Seneca Lake area’s environment and tourism. Early this year, state officials turned down Greenidge’s request for a renewed air permit. But even while it appeals to the judgment, the factory can keep mining bitcoin. Greenidge is exempt from the new moratorium because it is already in place and operational.
The new regulation is the latest setback in the deteriorating crypto winter, though. After China started to crack down on the business in 2021. New York soon emerged as a new center for Bitcoin mining. Currently, it appears that the residence may only be temporary. Should the governor sign the measure?
John Olsen, the New York state director for the business organization Blockchain Association, predicted a “very quick flight of any miners. That isn’t nearly totally dependant on renewable energy” in an interview with The Verge earlier this month.
This year, the Blockchain Association spent almost $225,000 lobbying in Albany to try to stop the law Hochul just signed and advance substitute legislation.
Thousands of dollars were also donated by association members to Hochul’s surprisingly effective campaign. Which caused some environmentalists to worry that she could allow the measure to lapse. The legislation was enacted by the state legislature back in June. And Hochul had until the end of the year to sign it or reject it.
Thanks for setting an example for the rest of the nation. And upholding New York’s climate legislation requirements, said Liz Moran. A New York policy advocate for the charity Earthjustice, in a statement released today. In order to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by at least 85% by 2050. New York State passed the Climate Act in 2019.