Environmental Activists: Mayor Adams is Dead Wrong on Bitcoin
Bitcoin mining is an environmental and economic threat to New Yorkers
SENECA LAKE, NY (01/20/2022) (readMedia)-- In response to the news today that New York City Mayor Eric Adams will receive his first paycheck in Bitcoin, Seneca Lake Guardian, released the following statement:
"Mayor Adams is dead wrong and his ignorance could cost New Yorkers millions of dollars in energy bills while killing local economies. poisoning our water, and filling our air with deadly C02 emissions. It's time for the Mayor to get the facts on the 30 peaker plants -- 13 in New York City -- that crypto bros, banned from China, want to convert into fossil fuel guzzling cancers on communities of color. Senator Parker understands the risks, and we hope Mayor Adams will confer with him and others about why we need a moratorium in New York State on bitcoin mining now," said Seneca Lake Guardian.
Proof-of-work cryptocurrency mining is a rapidly growing industry. Its energy use across the country has risen 320% in just the past five years across the country, and New York hosts nearly 20%. There is currently no state or federal oversight for this industry, and outside speculators are flocking to New York to take advantage of the lack of regulation. Proof of work cyrtomining is an extremely 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 to run cooling technology. Globally, proof-of-work Bitcoin mining uses the same amount of energy each day as the entire country of Argentina.
There are nearly 30 decommissioned or underutilized power plants across the state, phasing out as New York reduces its greenhouse gas emissions, that could again guzzle fossil fuels - this time for their own private interests without any public benefit. If left unregulated, the industry will wreak irrevocable harm on the entire state of New York, making it impossible to reach New York's crucial climate goals as outlined in the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA). The CLCPA commits to an 85% reduction in greenhouse gasses by 2050 and 100% zero-emission electricity by 2040.
Cryptomining is also at odds with the overwhelmingly popular amendment to the state constitution guaranteeing every New Yorker the right to clean air, clean water, and a healthful environment. Revitalizing old polluting power plants for private financial gain, with drastic consequences for our air and water, is now unconstitutional.
Crypto mining privatizes access to the grid and sets a dangerous precedent, wherein anyone with the resources to do so can burn fossil fuels and strain the grid in order to make a profit. When crypto miners rely on the public grid, they stick everyday New Yorkers with the bill. A 2021 study estimates "the power demands of cryptocurrency mining operations in upstate New York push up annual electric bills by about $165 million for small businesses and $79 million for individuals."
More than 1,000 organizations, businesses, environmental activists, concerned residents, wine makers, elected officials, and more have taken action over the last year in opposition to crypto mining in New York State. In letters to Governor Cuomo last year opposing Greenidge Generation's expansion from an emergency peaker plant to a 24/7 Bitcoin mining operation, organizations, businesses, and Finger Lakes residents demanded Gov. Cuomo revoke Greenidge's permits due to its massive greenhouse gas emissions, poisoning of the Finger Lakes, and noise pollution, with no economic benefit to the community. Greenidge Generation is still operating in Dresden, NY under grandfathered-in permits granted for use as a peaker plant, not 24/7 Bitcoin mining. Greenidge has applied for an air permit renewal and is awaiting a decision from the Department of Environmental Conservation. Similar fights have occurred in Plattsburgh and Niagara Falls, which resulted in local moratoriums.
Seneca Lake Guardian is urging Governor Hochul to place a moratorium on proof-of-work crypto mining with dozens of environmental organizations in the Stop Proof-of-Work Crypto Coalition including Earthjustice, NYPIRG, Sierra Club, and Food and Water Watch. There is a bill before both houses of the State Legislature that would place a statewide moratorium on proof-of-work crypto mining: S6486C and A7389B.
About Seneca Lake Guardian
Seneca Lake Guardian is a New York State Not-for-Profit Corporation with 501(c)(3) and is dedicated to preserving and protecting the health of the Finger Lakes, its residents and visitors, its rural community character, and its agricultural and tourist related businesses through public education, citizen participation, engagement with decision makers, and networking with like-minded organizations.