On January 13, environmentalists filed a lawsuit against the New York Public Service Commission (PSC) for approving a cryptocurrency mining facility in the state. The Guardian reports that in September 2022, the Public Service Commission (PSC) approved the conversion of the Fortistar North power plant into a cryptocurrency mining site.
The cryptocurrency mining facility is located in Tonawanda, a short drive from Niagara Falls. However, the facility was slated to be acquired by his Digihost, a respected Canadian cryptocurrency mining company.
Plaintiffs allege approval violates New York Climate Act of 2019
Plaintiffs allege that the approval violated New York’s 2019 Climate Act. The Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA) sets ambitious goals, including reducing statewide emissions by 85% by 2050 and zero-emission electricity by 2040.
West New York’s Clean Air Coalition and Sierra Club, represented by the nonprofit Earthjustice, will operate the Fortistar plant as a cryptocurrency miner compared to operating during periods of high power demand, such as extreme weather conditions. filed a lawsuit, alleging Greenhouse gas emissions increase by up to 3,000% despite the site running 24 hours a day.
Environmental advocates insist that New York state officials conduct thorough environmental assessments when considering projects.
In October 2021, a group of local businesses sent an impassioned petition to the state government asking it to reject a proposal to convert the power plant into a cryptocurrency mining facility.
Proof-of-work cryptocurrency mining uses huge amounts of energy to power the computers needed to run a business. If this activity expands in New York, it could significantly undermine New York’s climate goals established under the Climate Leadership and Communities Protection Act.
Digihost is converting its facilities to renewable natural gas to reduce its environmental footprint, according to public documents. Additionally, the North Tonawanda Planning Commission conducted a series of rigorous ecological reviews before approving the proposed mining site.
Last month, Digihost revealed plans to move some of its mining rigs from New York to Alabama to cut energy costs.