Mining crypto

New York DEC denies permit for Greenidge crypto-mining factory

New York state environmental regulators have refused to extend a key permit to a controversial cryptocurrency mining operation in the state’s Finger Lakes region.

The state Department of Environmental Protection said Thursday that the Greenidge gas plant does not comply with state climate laws and refused to extend an air quality permit. The 107-megawatt plant became a flashpoint in debate earlier this year as New York lawmakers passed a bill imposing a moratorium on new crypto mining permits in essence.

Governor Kathy Hochul has yet to sign this bill. But his administration has now ruled that the Greenidge facility is out of step with New York City’s Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act of 2019. The law requires statewide emissions to be reduced 40 percent from 1990 levels by 2030 and 85 percent by 2050.

Greenidge converted the decades-old factory to natural gas in 2017 and began mining bitcoin from the facility in 2019, causing a major backlash in the region, known in part for its wine production.

In a letter to Greenidge, the DEC wrote that the facility’s greenhouse gas emissions had “significantly increased” since the company was granted a permit in 2016. The increase, according to the letter, was due to the fact that Greenidge had changed the focus of the installation to focus more and more on powering proof-of-work mining. According to the DEC, more than half of the facility’s power generation in the first six months of 2021 went to crypto mining “behind the meter.”

Greenidge announced Thursday that it would appeal the decision and that, in the meantime, its operations would continue. The company said it offered a plan to cut its emissions by 40% by 2025, but state regulators declined to commit further.

“We believe there is no credible legal basis for denying this request as there is no real threat to the state’s Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA) from our license renewed,” the statement read. “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 turned into, a” politically charged cryptocurrency license “.”

The DEC decision marks a major victory for local environmental groups and other advocacy groups that have led the campaign against the use of greenhouse gas-emitting plants to power crypto mining.

“Governor Hochul and the DEC have stood with science and the people, and sent a message to outside speculators: New York’s old fossil fuel power plants are not yours to reopen as Bitcoin mining cancers. gas guzzlers on our communities,” Yvonne said. Taylor, Vice President of Seneca Lake Guardian, in a Thursday statement. “Now it’s up to Governor Hochul to finish the job by signing the cryptomining moratorium bill into law.”

The DEC had repeatedly delayed the decision and said it sifted through 4,000 comments before issuing Thursday’s decision.