June 30 marks one year since the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) denied the air permit renewal for Greenidge Generation, a crypto-mining plant located in the Finger Lakes region. Despite this decision, the facility continues to operate while appealing the ruling, leading to a significant community outcry.
As the Finger Lakes battles the impacts of climate change, residents and officials alike are concerned about Greenidge’s potential for significant environmental harm, including increased air pollution and potential contribution to toxic algal blooms in Seneca Lake. Vice President of Seneca Lake Guardian, Yvonne Taylor, strongly expressed these concerns, urging Greenidge to cease operations.
In addition to environmental concerns, Greenidge’s financial viability has come into question, following an abrupt CEO departure and the need for debt restructuring. This has led the company to resort to Bitcoin mining to repay its lenders. This approach has sparked worry among local winemakers, such as Vinny Aliperti, co-owner of Billsboro Winery, who cited severe crop losses due to erratic spring temperatures and emphasized the need to end Bitcoin mining.
New York State, being the first to regulate crypto-mining, passed a historic cryptocurrency mining moratorium in November 2022, enforcing a two-year pause on new and renewed air permits for fossil-fueled power plants that mine cryptocurrency. However, the moratorium does not affect Greenidge Generation, which had already applied for its air permit. With the state now constitutionally obligated to ensure clean air, water, and a healthful environment for its citizens, critics argue that operations such as Greenidge’s run counter to these commitments.
FingerLakes1.com is the region’s leading all-digital news publication. The company was founded in 1998 and has been keeping residents informed for more than two decades. Have a lead? Send it to [email protected].