BREAKING: ANOTHER Decision Upholds Denial of Cryptominer Greenidge Generation's Air Permit – DEC Case Closed

Climate-killing crypto-miner Greenidge Generation became a national story and test case for how states should handle the exploitative and extractive crypto-mining industry

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DRESDEN, NY (05/09/2024) (readMedia)-- Today, DEC Regional Director Dereth Glance issued a Decision upholding the denial of Greenidge Generation's air permit renewal application. The ruling confirmed DEC's authority to deny permits, including renewal permits, for being inconsistent with the greenhouse gas emissions limits of New York's Climate Law (the CLCPA) - and upheld the denial of Greenidge's permit on that basis. The DEC Regional Director also found there were no remaining issues for adjudication and canceled the pending hearing, concluding Greenidge's administrative appeals before DEC. Greenidge has the right to appeal the Decision to State Court.

Earthjustice, Seneca Lake Guardian, and lawmakers will hold a zoom news conference at 10:30 AM on Friday, May 10 to celebrate this major win.

Join the news conference here:

"This is a massive win for the climate and New Yorkers. For the third time, the DEC finds that Greenidge's operations violate New York law. And for the third time, Earthjustice and our clients welcome this decision, on behalf of the communities that live near this fossil power plant that mines cryptocurrency and that pollutes 24 hours a day, 365 days per year." said Mandy DeRoche, Deputy Managing Attorney in the Clean Energy Program at Earthjustice.

"DEC got it right, again. This plant is bad for the climate, bad for New York's environment, and bad for its neighbors. Enough is enough, Greenidge must close." said Lisa Perfetto, Senior Attorney in the Clean Energy Program at Earthjustice.

"As the news of this major victory spreads, people across New York are rejoicing. This is a huge win for the climate, and we are celebrating. Meanwhile, Greenidge continues to spew more and more greenhouse gases into our air at increasing amounts, and will likely try to continue operating while it tantrums over this decision, and drag things out with an appeal. But as we have said all along, and the DEC has validated, burning more fossil fuels in the middle of a climate crisis for fake money is wrong, and in fact it is a violation of our laws. We are relying on our amazing legal counsel at Earthjustice and Whiteman, Osterman and Hannah to determine next steps, but we're confident that we will ultimately prevail.," said Yvonne Taylor, Vice President of Seneca Lake Guardian.

"Reviving dirty fossil fuel plants, like Greenidge, to power energy hungry 'Proof of Work' cryptocurrency mining facilities represents the worst kind of flaunting of our climate laws, " said Roger Downs, Conservation Director, Sierra Club Atlantic Chapter. "We are thrilled that DEC Regional Director Dareth Glance has once again affirmed the wisdom of her agency's denial of the plant's permit on climate grounds. But It has been almost 2 years since the state rejected Greenidge's cryptomine air permits, and the plant still continues to operate, profit and pollute while it exploits the State's appeals process. We eagerly await one last repudiation of Greenidge's operations, but true justice will only come when the plant shuts down for good."

"We applaud this decision and the DEC's original decision on June 30, 2022, almost 2 years ago, to deny Greenidge Generation's Title V Air Permit. This decision helps preserve the Finger Lakes region, our agri-tourism industry and our communities. This decision stands with all those who voted for the right to have clean air, water and a healthful environment. Our bold NYS climate law, the CLCPA, must be the lens through which new and renewal permits are considered," said Abi Buddington, Secretary of Commitee to Preserve the Finger Lakes.

Earthjustice represents Seneca Lake Guardian, Sierra Club Atlantic Chapter, Committee to Preserve the Finger Lakes, and Fossil Free Tompkins. Co-counsel Philip Gitlen of Whiteman, Osterman, and Hanna also represents Seneca Lake Guardian.


  • The Decision concludes that "there are no issues for adjudication in this proceeding and that the adjudicatory hearing shall be canceled. This matter is remanded to Department staff for any required processing and closing of this matter" - meaning the case is officially closing within the DEC.
  • The Decision confirmed the CLCPA authorizes DEC to deny permits-including renewal permits-under CLCPA Section 7(2).
  • The Decision upheld the ALJ's determination that Greenidge's operations were inconsistent with the CLCPA's requirements.
    • "As Department staff and the ALJ concluded, it is beyond dispute that granting the renewal permit under these circumstances is inconsistent with or will interfere with the attainment of the statewide greenhouse gas limits established in [the CLCPA]."
    • "[I]f the permit were to be granted, it would authorize the continued, increasing (up to the limit of the permit) emission of GHGs from a facility that is combusting fossil fuels in furtherance of operations that also increase energy demand. As a matter of fact, granting the permit will make attainment of the statewide GHG emissions limits more difficult (i.e. it will interfere with the attainment of the goals)."
  • The Decision found that Greenidge had failed to meet its burden of proof with respect to justification and mitigation-and that it would be inappropriate to let the Company offer additional, new evidence now.
    • "Importantly, however, '[w]here an application is made for permit renewal, the permittee has the burden of proof to demonstrate that the permitted activity is in compliance with all applicable laws and regulations administered by the department.'"
    • "In this case, the burden was on Greenidge to demonstrate, at the application stage (as well as the issues conference stage), that granting the renewal permit would be consistent [with the CLCPA] ... or that the permit should be granted even if found to be inconsistent. . . . I find that it would be inappropriate to allow Greenidge to offer additional, new evidence in support of its application at the adjudicatory stage of this Part 624 proceeding."
  • The Decision found that both the temporary moratorium on issuing air permits to fossil fueled cryptocurrency mining operations and the environmental impact study required by that legislation supported denying the permit.

Read the full decision attached.


Greenidge Generation is a gas-fired power plant that previously only operated to provide power to New York's grid in times of peak demand. Now, it burns fracked gas 24/7/365 to mine Bitcoin.

On June 30, 2022, the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation issued a Notice of Denial of the air permit renewal for Greenidge Generation. Greenidge appealed that decision, and on September 26, 2023, an Administrative Law Judge found again that Greenidge Generation's operations are inconsistent with the greenhouse gas emissions limits of New York's Climate Law (the CLCPA).

Greenidge's carbon emissions continue to increase year after year, even after its permit renewal was denied. In 2023, it emitted 776,072,610 lbs of CO2, equivalent to nearly 84,000 cars on the road.

While Greenidge continues to face issues with the DEC, it also faces financial troubles – especially after April's Bitcoin "halving" - an event that cut the rewards for mining Bitcoins in half. On April 9, Greenidge warned in its 10-k annual report of precarious finances, and that "The halving of Bitcoin, expected in April 2024, may have an adverse effect on the company's projected future cash flows." Greenidge's stock tanked 30% the week before the halving," and continues to stay low. Experts expect the halving to lead to industry consolidation, with smaller and struggling miners no longer being able to stay profitable with the reduced rewards.

Greenidge isn't the only fracked gas-burning Bitcoin mining operation threatening New York's climate progress.

Advocates, organizations, and elected officials are also urging Governor Hochul and her administration to deny the air permit renewal for the gas-fired Digihost/Fortistar North Tonawanda power plant, now also a polluting proof-of-work crypto mining operation, in Western New York.

Burning fossil fuels like gas accelerates climate change, and a new study from The Journal of Cleaner Production shows how the carbon, air, and water footprint of cryptocurrency far surpasses that of traditional fiat currencies. Bad air quality is the world's leading environmental killer, linked to over 100,000 deaths each year in the U.S. alone. While the rest of New York works to meet the greenhouse gas emission reduction mandates of our climate law to fight climate change, Greenidge and Digihost are fighting to continue burning fracked gas.

On November 22, 2022, Governor Hochul signed the first-in-the-nation two-year moratorium on new and renewed air permits for fossil-fueled power plants that produce their own energy to mine cryptocurrency. The new law requires the DEC perform a full environmental impact assessment on the energy and environmental impacts of crypto mining operations. However, the moratorium did not affect air permit applications that had already been submitted before its enactment, such as Greenidge's and Digihost/Fortistar's applications.


In its most recent report, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warned that Earth is likely to cross a critical and dire threshold for global warming within the next decade if we don't quickly and drastically reduce our dependence on fossil fuels. But after China banned proof-of-work crypto-mining (the process Bitcoin uses), citing, among other things, the environmental threats that mining poses to meeting emissions reduction goals, the U.S. is now hosting many energy-intensive proof-of-work crypto-mining operations. While these facilities of automated machines create few new jobs, they threaten the climate, in addition to small businesses, local economies, and natural resources.

Proof-of-work cryptocurrency mining is an energy-intensive process that requires thousands of machines whirring 24/7 to solve complex equations. The more machines that are running, the faster a coin is mined. Each one of these machines requires energy to run, plus more energy for cooling. Globally, Bitcoin mining consumes more energy each year than entire countries. Fossil-fueled mining facilities can also be major emitters of local air pollution, water pollution, noise pollution and electronic waste, among other externalities on impacted host communities.

Last year, the New York Times published an in-depth expose about the negative impacts of proof-of-work Bitcoin mining. In September 2022, the White House sounded the alarm about cryptocurrency mining - the Office of Science and Technology Policy released a report about the industry's climate threats and the need for regulation. But cryptocurrency mining continues to grow rapidly across the country. Earthjustice and the Sierra Club released a Guidebook as well, with state-specific follow-ups specific to cryptomining in Pennsylvania, Texas, Kentucky, and Indiana.

About Earthjustice

Earthjustice is the premier nonprofit environmental law organization. We wield the power of law and the strength of partnership to protect people's health, to preserve magnificent places and wildlife, to advance clean energy, and to combat climate change. We are here because the earth needs a good lawyer.

In this litigation, Earthjustice represented Seneca Lake Guardian, The Committee To Preserve The Finger Lakes, Fossil Free Tompkins, and Sierra Club Atlantic Chapter.