New York sued by environmental group after crypto mining facility approval: report

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

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

The facility is located in Tonawanda, a town less than ten miles from Niagara Falls, and would be acquired by Canadian crypto mining company Digihost.

Plaintiffs allege that the approval violates the New York Climate Act of 2019. The Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA), among other goals, sets a goal of reducing statewide emissions by 85% by 2050 and achieving zero-emission emissions by 2040. electricity.

In the lawsuit, the Clean Air Coalition of Western New York and the Sierra Club are represented by the nonprofit Earthjustice, which alleges that the Fortistar plant only operated during periods of high electricity demand, such as extreme weather. However, as a crypto mining factory, the site would run 24 hours a day and generate up to 3,000% more greenhouse gas emissions.

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Activists argue that the state of New York must conduct environmental assessments when researching projects.

In October 2021, a group of local companies petitioned the state in a letter to deny the conversion of the power plant to a crypto mining facility, claiming that:

“Proof-of-Work cryptocurrency mining uses massive amounts of energy to power the computers needed to conduct business – if this activity were to expand in New York, it would support New York’s climate goals set out in the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act could drastically undermine.”

According to public documents, Digihost planned to convert the facility to renewable natural gas to reduce environmental impact. The company also noted that the mine site had been approved by the North Tonawanda Planning Commission, which conducts environmental assessments before making any decisions.

In August, Digihost also announced plans to move some of its mining rigs from New York to Alabama in an effort to reduce energy costs, Cointelegraph reported.

Digihost did not immediately respond to Cointelegraph’s request for comment.