New York PSC was sued by environmental activists for approving a crypto mining facility –
On Jan 13, 2022, The New York Public Service Commission, also known as PSC, was sued by environmental activists for approving a crypto mining facility. According to The Guardian, the state Public Service Commission is responsible for regulating public utilities and authorised in September 2022 the conversion of the Fortistar North Power plant into a crypto-mining site.
Approval violates New York’s climate Law of 2019
Recently, the New York PSC approved the crypto mining facility in Tonawanda, a city not more than ten miles away from Niagara Falls. It was set to be taken over by the Canadian crypto-mining firm Digihost.
However, the plaintiffs or the environmental activists claim that the approval violated New York’s climate law of 2019. The Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act(CLCPA) aims to reduce around 85 per cent in statewide emissions by 2050 and zero emissions electricity by 2040, among other targets.
In the lawsuit filed by the environmental activist, the Clean Air Coalition of Western New York and the Sierra Club are represented by the non-profit organisation, Earthjustice, claiming that the Fortistar North Power plant was only operated during the period when there was a massive demand for electricity such as extreme weather conditions. However, if the site is converted into a crypto mining facility, it would run 24 hours a day, generating upto 3000 per cent more greenhouse gas emissions.
New York state must conduct environmental reviews when examining projects
Recently, New York PSC was sued by environmental activists for approving the crypto-mining facility. Many activists argued that the New York state must conduct environmental reviews when examining projects.
In Oct 2021, a letter from a group of local businesses requested the state to deny the power plant conversion to a crypto mining facility claiming that a proof-of-work crypto mining project uses a lot of energy to power the computers needed to conduct the tasks. They also added that if this activity expands in New York, it could drastically undermine New York’s climate goals made under the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act.
According to public filings, Digihost planned to convert this power plant facility to renewable natural gas to reduce its environmental impact. The company also noted that the North Tonawanda planning commissions approved the mining site, which performs environmental reviews before taking any decisions. In August, it also disclosed plans to move part of its mining rigs from New York to Alabama to reduce energy costs.
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