New York Sued Over Crypto Mining
Crypto mining, as essential as it is to the industry, is a rather controversial topic. A majority of this controversy has to do with the energy costs associated with mining cryptocurrency and the perceived impact on the environment. From people being caught stealing energy to mine crypto to the industry as a whole being criticized, we have seen many such controversies over the years.
One of the latest of these comes from the City of New York. The city is currently the subject of a lawsuit from an environmentalist group over its approval of a crypto-mining establishment.
New York Vs Crypto
For a while now, New York has had a complicated relationship with cryptocurrency. Last year, it famously banned the use of gas and coal for crypto mining, which was heralded as a bold move. But now, the city is being criticised for the approval of a mining operation.
The group in question is The Clean Air Coalition of Western New York and the Sierra Club and its lawsuit has been brought before the supreme court of Albany county. In the lawsuit, it is alleged that the New York Public Service Commission (PSC) approved crypto mining company Digihost’s takeover of the Fortistar power plant in North Tonawanda.
This approval, the group says, is a violation of the 2019 Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA). That act sets certain sustainability targets for the city such as having zero emissions by 2040 and having 70% of its energy be generated by renewable sources.
The lawsuit also says that by allowing Digihost to take over the plant, the amount of energy and emissions to be generated by the plant will increase several times over. When it was still operational, the Fortistar power plant only operated between 10 to 74 days each year and only during times when the demand for electricity was high.
In contrast, the operation that Digihost intends to run will be operational 24/7 and this will see the emissions generated by the plant go up a whopping 3,000%. Finally, it was noted that some of the communities that are located in close proximity to the plant and disadvantaged and thus are at a greater risk than others.
As such, the CLCPA’s decision to approve the plant runs afoul of the law which “requires all state agencies – including the [commission] – to consider greenhouse gas emissions and impacts to disadvantaged communities when considering administrative approvals and decisions. If such an action would threaten the CLCPA’s greenhouse gas reduction mandates, it cannot proceed without a justification.”
For as long as the crypto industry exists and major cryptos like blockchain continue to run on the proof-of-work consensus, there will always be controversy regarding its energy use. It is too early to tell what the outcome of this case will be but it is clear that the industry’s energy use is still a cause of concern among environmentalists around the world who are pushing back.