Greenidge Generation LLC has been denied a renewal of its air permit to continue operating its Bitcoin mining on the shores of Seneca Lake in New York. The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) made the decision on Thursday that Greenidge’s Bitcoin mining operation does not meet the requirements of state climate laws.
Greenidge Generation applied for the renewal of its air permit in March 2021.
In a statement, NYSDEC said that Greenidge’s application was inconsistent with the climate goals highlighted by the state’s Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA), which focuses on reducing New York’s greenhouse gas emission by at least 85% by 2050.
The regulator stated that a significant rise in greenhouse gas emissions from Greenidge’s Dresden-based power generation facility has been noticed since the previous permit was issued to the crypto mining company in 2016 and after the Climate Act (CLCPA) was enacted in 2019.
However, Greenidge stated that the decision by the regulator would not “have any impact on our current operations in Dresden.” The firm said it will continue operating its mining business under its current air permit while it challenges the NYSDEC ruling in court.
Greenidge said its “facility represents a remarkably insignificant 0.2% of New York’s target GHG [greenhouse gas] emissions level for 2030” and that the level of its emissions is down by 70% compared to the reference date of 1990 under the law.
Meanwhile, the Governor of New York state, Kathy Hochul, congratulated NYSDEC’s move to nullify Greenidge’s license. “I applaud NYSEC’s decision, which will stop future increases in greenhouse gas emissions at Seneca Lake,” the Governor tweeted.
On the other hand, workers and union members who are employed at Greenidge’s Dresden facility have expressed their disappointment by the NYSDEC’s decision as well as the proposed mining moratorium passed at the beginning of this month.
Early this month, emotions were high after the New York State Senate passed a bill that barred fossil fuel power plants from creating new projects to provide energy to proof-of-work (PoW) cryptocurrency mines for two years.
On 4th June, state assemblywoman Anna Kelles, who sponsored the bill, as well as environmentalists, called on New York Governor Kathy Hochul not just to sign the bill into law, but also to deny air permits for Greenidge Bitcoin mining firm.
The environmental groups thanked the elected New York lawmakers who passed the bill through the state’s two houses.
The bill effectively prohibited the establishment of new Bitcoin mines that utilize behind-the-meter fossil fuel power by denying air permits to the power plants that provide them with electricity. Greenidge Generation is one of two Bitcoin mining firms that use this model in New York state.
Hochul has still not signed the bill that would impose a two-year moratorium on the specified crypto mining operations.
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