January 28, 2023

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Environmental group sues New York after approval of cryptocurrency mining facility: report

The New York Public Service Commission (PSC) was sued by environmental activists on January 13 for approving the acquisition of a cryptocurrency mining facility in the state.

according to According to The Guardian, the state Public Service Commission (PSC) is responsible for regulating public utilities, and in September 2022 authorized the conversion of the Fortistar North power plant into a crypto mining site.

The facility is located in Tonawanda, a city less than ten miles from Niagara Falls, and was slated to be acquired by Canadian cryptocurrency mining company Digihost.

The plaintiffs claim that the approval violated New York’s climate law of 2019. The Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA) sets a goal of 85% statewide emissions reductions by 2050, and zero electricity emissions reductions by 2040, among other goals.

In the lawsuit, the Clean Air Alliance of Western New York and the Sierra Club were represented by the non-profit Earthjustice, claiming that the Fortistar plant was operating only during periods of high electricity demand, such as severe weather conditions. However, as a crypto-mining plant, the site will operate 24 hours a day, increasing greenhouse gas emissions by up to 3000%.

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Activists argue that New York State should conduct environmental reviews when examining projects.

In October 2021, a message from a local corporate group He asked the state to refuse to convert the power plant to a cryptocurrency mining facility, claiming that:

“Proof-of-work cryptocurrency mining uses massive amounts of energy to power the computers needed to do business — if this activity were to expand in New York, it could significantly undermine New York’s climate goals set under the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act.”

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 mining site has been approved by the North Tonawanda Planning Commission, which conducts environmental reviews before making decisions.

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In August, Digihost too It revealed plans to move part 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.