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Environmental groups request injunction against Greenidge

A request for a preliminary injunction has been filed against Greenidge Generation in an effort to halt the planned expansion of their Dresden power plant for cryptocurrency mining.

A release from Seneca Lake Guardian and several other environmental groups opposed to the expansion says concrete footers are being poured despite ongoing litigation involving the project. The Sierra Club and others filed an Article 78 proceeding against the town of Torrey what they say was the town’s failure to follow state Environmental Quality Review procedures.

The injunction request has been filed with Judge Daniel J. Doyle. Leaders from Seneca Lake Guardian say this latest development creates even more urgency for Governor Kathy Hochul and the DEC to act aggressively and swiftly to deny Greenidge Generation their Title V Air Permits. 

Related: Shares of Greenidge tumble after Sen. Elizabeth Warren asks company’s CEO about Dresden plant’s emissions

The full release is below:

A preliminary injunction against Greenidge Generation released today was filed in an effort to halt new construction that would expand the existing facility in Dresden, New York. Recently obtained footage of new construction at the facility shows that footers are being poured for the expansion of Greenidge’s Bitcoin mining operation, despite ongoing litigation. An Article 78 proceeding (Sierra Club et al. v. Town of Torrey et al.) was filed in May of 2021 against the Town of Torrey for their failure to properly follow State Environmental Quality Review protocol when approving Greenidge’s site plan application.

The Article 78 suit was filed following the Town of Torrey’s failure to complete a comprehensive environmental review of all elements under the State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA). The Town of Torrey only evaluated construction of the four new buildings proposed by Greenidge, failing to assess the impacts of their machines, noise, air emissions, potential for increased water withdrawal, thermal discharge, or possibility of Harmful Algal Blooms. When the town approved Greenidge’s site plan, petitioners say it violated various state laws, including New York’s SEQRA.

Finger Lakes Partners (Billboard)

Over 25 petitioners including the Sierra Club, Seneca Lake Guardian, Committee to Preserve the Finger Lakes, and dozens of area residents who stand to be negatively impacted by this expansion are a part of this suit.

Leaders from Seneca Lake Guardian say this latest development creates even more urgency for Governor Kathy Hochul and the DEC to act aggressively and swiftly to deny Greenidge Generation their Title V Air Permits.

“If Governor Hochul and the DEC continue to drag their feet on this permit, the Finger Lakes and our climate will pay the price. Governor Hochul must make this issue a top priority in her administration and direct her DEC to deny Greenidge’s permits on the grounds that the facility’s air emissions do not comply with New York’s climate law. The Finger Lakes region is a test case for what could happen across our great state, and across the country,” said Joseph Campbell, President of Seneca Lake Guardian. “We have filed a motion with the presiding judge, the Hon. Daniel J. Doyle, asking for construction to cease until the issues raised in the suit are reviewed and the Article 78 proceeding is finalized.”

The environmental impact from Greenidge’s proof-of-work cryptocurrency mining operation poses a severe threat to the over $3 billion-a-year agri-tourism industry, threatening one of the largest economic drivers for the State of New York. And, without action, this operation will hamper New York’s ability to meet its climate goals as outlined in the CLCPA. DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos and NYSERDA CEO Doreen Harris recently co-wrote an op-ed about this commitment to NY’s energy goals, but a decision has yet to be made surrounding the Greenidge facility, a fossil fuel operation which directly contradicts the priorities they outlined.

This also comes on the heels of a letter sent by Senator Elizabeth Warren to Greenidge’s CEO raising her concerns over its proof-of work cryptomining facility, citing cryptomining’s extraordinarily high energy usage, its impact on climate, and rising electricity costs for consumers as operations grow in the United States. Senator Warren asked for a detailed response to questions about its commitment to environmental protection, its scaling plans, and its emissions by no later than December 17, 2021.