New York Assembly Passes Two-Year Moratorium on Crypto Mining Bill
The New York State Assembly has voted to pass a bill that will essentially freeze current levels of carbon emissions from crypto mining until the state can act on a comprehensive impact study.
The bill passed with a total of 95 votes in favor and 52 against. It aims to impose a two-year moratorium, specifically preventing the issuance of new permits to carbon-powered proof-of-work mining operations that use energy behind the meter. In addition, existing sites planning to increase the amount of energy consumed would not be able to obtain a permit renewal.
Democratic Assemblywoman Anna Kelles, the bill’s lead sponsor, said her goal was to ensure the state adheres to the measures set by New York’s Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA), which passed in 2019. The Assembly is the lower house of the New York State Legislature.
The bill also directs the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) to conduct a general environmental impact statement on all cryptomining operations in the state. The study is expected to be completed within a year, giving lawmakers time to act on the findings before the moratorium expires.
Lawmakers have been pushing for several months to temporarily halt the growth of crypto mining in the state before a thorough study can be conducted. An earlier version of the bill, which called for a three-year moratorium on a wider range of mining facilities, died in the Assembly in June last year.
On Tuesday, members of the Assembly debated the bill for more than two hours. IIn an effort to dispel the idea that the moratorium would generally prohibit crypto mining, Kelles, the bill’s main sponsor, repeatedly insisted that it would only apply to a certain number. fossil fuel power plants.
“This bill is not retroactive in nature. … It only specifically relates to power plants, of which we have about 30 in the upstate and about 19 in the south,” Kelles said. .
Republican Congressman Robert Smullen called the bill an “anti-tech” bill “disguised as environmental law.”
Smullen went on to say that the legislation would send the wrong signal to the financial services industry in New York and could eventually cause miners to simply move to other states and take jobs with them.
“We are moving into a more cashless economy. And I think we should welcome those industries and figure out how to reduce emissions in other ways,” he said.
Kelles argued that the bill would not impede New York’s ability to be a crypto leader when it comes to other aspects of the industry, such as buying, trading and selling crypto. digital assets.
Following China’s ban on crypto mining last year, the United States has seen exponential growth in hashing power, with several miners repurposing previously disabled power plants.
One such facility, operated by Greenidge Generation in the Finger Lakes region, was in the midst of a controversial permit renewal process in New York. Last month, the DEC pushed back a final decision to June as it reviews the company’s proposed mitigations and nearly 4,000 public comments.
Republican Congressman Philip Palmesano said the Greenidge plant has made a positive contribution in terms of taxes and job creation.
Kelles said the agri-tourism sector in the Finger Lakes region, which employs 60,000 people in the region, had already reported negative impacts from the Greenidge plant in terms of noise, air and water pollution. .
“How many jobs are we creating for this pollution. And how many jobs have we lost?” Kelles asked. “We have to talk about it as net job creation.”
The bill is currently still in committee in the New York State Senate.
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