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New York Delays Decision on Finger Lakes Bitcoin Mining Power Plant

In an emailed statement, Greenidge wrote that emissions from the plant at full capacity are 0.2% of the state’s 2030 target. The company said its permit, which expires in 2026, would not impede government emissions reduction targets, and that it was willing to cut emissions further to meet the requirements.

Environmental activists and Finger Lakes residents say they will continue their fight against Greenidge’s air permit renewal. Ken Campbell, a retired teacher who lives about half a mile from Greenidge on the shores of Seneca Lake, said he felt he was defending his home in a way that felt like “David and Goliath.”

While he and many of his neighbors are disappointed by the DEC’s delay, they admit it’s better than approval. Environmental scientists told Gothamist in February that hot water runoff from power plants can often endanger underwater species.

“We’re confident that we’re finally going to win,” said Vinny Aliperti, owner of Billsboro Winery, located 8 miles north of Greenidge on the shores of Seneca Lake. “But with every day that goes by, there are more fish kills. There’s more emissions, there’s more, more of everything we’re trying to stop.”

Climate scientists want the state to send cryptocurrency miners a clear message that fossil fuel assets are not to be taken away. According to Cornell’s Howarth, there are several decommissioned power plants throughout upstate New York, particularly in rural areas like the Finger Lakes.

“If the DEC approved this air permit, it would set a terrible precedent,” said Howarth, who is also a member of the New York State Climate Action Council tasked with developing implementation plans for the CLCPA. “We absolutely have to keep it [fossil fuel-powered plants] closed and locked. We can’t really open them up again to burn fossil fuels and have a chance of meeting the climate targets.”

In the past quarter alone, Greenidge had sales of more than $44 million. According to a recent press release, the company closed a deal last week for over $100 million in funding to expand its operations outside of New York. At full capacity, the plant’s emissions can almost rival those of neighboring Tompkins County, which has a population of more than 105,000, Anthony Ingraffea, a professor of engineering at Cornell University who estimated air impacts for local environmental groups, told Gothamist im February. He said it was “impossible” for Greenidge to cut emissions by 40%; when it operates its natural gas plant at maximum capacity 24 hours a day.

“It’s just a facility — you can look at it that way, but it’s a huge consumer of natural gas,” Howarth said. “And if it is allowed to operate, then it is no longer just a plant. It’s just a completely wrong direction for our state.”

https://gothamist.com/news/new-york-delays-decision-on-finger-lakes-bitcoin-mining-power-plant New York Delays Decision on Finger Lakes Bitcoin Mining Power Plant

Ari Notis

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