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DEC denies Greenidge air permit renewal after months of consideration, public feedback

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has denied Greenidge Generation its Title V air permit renewal.

The facility is located in the town of Torrey, Yates County.

DEC conducted a comprehensive review of Greenidge’s application and supporting materials, as well as the approximately 4,000 public comments received. DEC subjects all applications for environmental permits to an extensive and transparent review process that encourages public input at every step‎.

DEC determined the permit renewal application does not demonstrate compliance with the requirements of the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act. Based on DEC’s review of the specific facts and circumstances presented, this natural gas-fired facility’s continued operations would be inconsistent with the statewide greenhouse gas emission limits established in the Climate Act.

Among the factors considered was the dramatic increase in greenhouse gas emissions from the facility since the passage of the Climate Act, driven by the change in the primary purpose of its operations. Rather than solely providing energy to the state’s electricity grid, the power plant now primarily provides energy behind-the-meter to support the demands of Greenidge’s energy-intensive proof of work cryptocurrency mining operations.

“This is an incredible, precedent-setting moment for everyone who has fought side by side with the Finger Lakes community. Governor Hochul and the DEC stood with science and the people, and sent a message to outside speculators: New York’s former fossil fuel-burning plants are not yours to re-open as gas-guzzling Bitcoin mining cancers on our communities,” said Yvonne Taylor, vice president of Seneca Lake Guardian. “Now, it’s up to Governor Hochul to finish the job by signing the cryptomining moratorium bill. Especially in light of this morning’s EPA v. WV decision, she has a real opportunity to protect New York’s Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act — and lead the nation – by acting now.”

Finger Lakes Partners (Billboard)

The group called it a major victory for the Finger Lakes region’s environment.

“Today, Governor Hochul and the Department of Environmental Conservation have demonstrated that New York is serious about upholding our nation-leading climate laws by denying Greenidge Generation LLC’s application for a Title V air permit renewal. This is the first important step toward preventing the use of our old retired fossil-fuel power plants for personal corporate gain. This is a bold move that will protect our natural resources for New Yorkers and particularly important on a day when the Supreme Court has weakened the EPA’s ability to regulate our power plants,” added Assemblymember Anna Kelles.

The full decision is outlined in a letter by Daniel Whitehead, Director, Division of Environmental Permits, DEC.

RELATED: Challenging times for Hochul, but DEC’s Greenidge decision could be significant moment