New York sued by environmental group after approval of crypto mining facility: Report
The New York Public Service Commission (PSC) was sued by environmental activists on January 13 for approving the takeover of a cryptocurrency mining facility in the state.
According to The Guardian, the State Public Service Commission (PSC) is responsible for regulating public services and authorized in September 2022 the conversion of the Fortistar North power plant into a crypto mining site.
The facility is located in Tonawanda, a town less than ten miles from Niagara Falls, and was set to be acquired by Canadian crypto mining firm Digihost.
The plaintiffs claim the approval violates New York’s 2019 climate law. The Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA) sets a goal of reducing 85% of emissions statewide by 2050 and zero electricity emissions by in 2040, among other targets.
In the lawsuit, the Clean Air Coalition of Western New York and the Sierra Club are represented by the nonprofit organization Earthjustice, alleging that the Fortistar power plant only operated during periods of high demand for electricity, such as extreme weather conditions. However, as a crypto mining factory, the site would operate 24 hours a day, generating up to 3000% more greenhouse gas emissions.
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Activists argue that New York State must conduct environmental reviews when considering projects.
In October 2021, a letter from a local business group asked the state to deny the power plant’s conversion to a crypto mining facility, claiming that:
“Proof-of-work cryptocurrency mining uses vast amounts of energy to power the computers needed to conduct business – if this activity were to expand in New York, it could drastically undermine New York’s climate goals established under the LEADERSHIP Act of Climate and Community Protection”.
According to public filings, Digihost planned to convert the facility to renewable natural gas to reduce its environmental impact. The company also noted that the mine site was approved by the North Tonawanda planning commission, which conducts environmental reviews before making decisions.
In August, Digihost also revealed plans to move some of its mining rigs from New York to Alabama in an effort to lower energy costs, Cointelegraph reported.
Digihost did not immediately respond to Cointelegraph’s request for comment.