Jumaane Williams + Finger Lakes Business Owners & Advocates: End Destructive & Unchecked Bitcoin Mining Now!

Candidate calls on Governor to impose a moratorium on proof of work cryptomining and deny Greenidge Generation a renewed permit

BURDETT, NY (01/31/2022) (readMedia)-- On Monday, gubernatorial candidate Jumaane Williams joined local business owners, Finger Lakes residents, and advocates to urge Governor Hochul to place a moratorium on climate-killing Bitcoin mining. NYS now hosts nearly 20% of the country's rapidly-growing crypto mining industry to the detriment of small businesses, pandemic-depressed local economies, the environment, and the climate. This event comes days after a group of federal lawmakers including Sen. Elizabeth Warren demanded details from the largest Bitcoin miners about their contributions to climate change and impact on local power prices.

Watch the press conference here.

"Bitcoin mines that use a 'proof-of-work' process are known to cause significant damage to the environment and local economy, which is why many countries have completely banned the practice. Unfortunately New York has fallen behind, allowing nearly 20% of the country's mines to operate in our state without any oversight or regulation. We need to ask questions now rather than dealing with the fallout later. That's why Governor Hochul must declare a moratorium on this type of mining so our state can first create the right infrastructure to protect Seneca Lake and all of New York state from harmful economic and environmental impacts," said gubernatorial candidate and NYC Public Advocate Jumaane Williams.

After being banned in China, outside speculators are flocking to New York to take advantage of the nonexistent regulatory structure in order to mine what amounts to a tanking stock. Reform groups Common Cause/NY and NYPIRG have criticized the crypto mining industry for exploiting public resources and straining the energy grid for private gain. In doing so, Bitcoin mining operations raise energy costs for everyday New Yorkers: one 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."

The Bitcoin mining industry is extremely energy-intensive and will make it impossible for New York to meet the zero-emission goals outlined by the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act. Its CO2 emissions aren't just harmful for the climate - this industry's air pollution includes the same type of particulate matter that the EPA just found responsible for the preventable deaths of 143,000 elderly people.

In addition to calling for a moratorium, Williams joined locals to demand the Department of Environmental Conservation deny Greenidge Generation's Title V air permit renewal. Located on the shores of Seneca Lake, Greenidge Generation, a once-mothballed power plant, is using grandfathered-in air permits to run 24/7 as a Bitcoin mine. Greenidge operates 15,300 Bitcoin mining machines with plans to expand, pumping dirty fossil fuels into the air 24/7 and poisoning the lakes that the region's $3 billion tourism economy depends on. Greenidge sucks 139 million gallons of water each day from Seneca Lake and dumps it back in at 108 degrees, causing toxic algal blooms that make the water source of 100,000 people non-potable.

"Bitcoin is a fake currency that experts have called a ponzi scheme, but that hasn't kept wealthy tech-bros from invading New York State to destroy our natural resources, kneecap local businesses, and keep us from meeting the crucial climate goals outlined by the CLCPA. Repowering or expanding coal and gas plants to make fake money in the middle of a climate crisis is literally insane. We need Governor Hochul to impose a moratorium on proof-of-work crypto mining. Like fracking, which New York state banned, crypto mining poses a serious threat to the health and safety of all New Yorkers, " said Joseph Campbell, president of Seneca Lake Guardian.

"Crypto mining is not a long term sustainable industry with any significant regional benefits. The social costs far outweigh any benefits to our region. The miners are mining for something that doesn't exist, with its true value being called into question almost daily. The NY wine industry generates over $6 billion per year with nearly 72,000 direct jobs resulting in $2.8 (and growing) direct wages, and tourists alone spend in the neighborhood of $2 billion dollars. These are industries creating real things with real value - they are not speculative at their core. The costs are simply not worth the return," said Rick Rainey, Managing Partner and Conductor of Forge Cellars.

"The greenidge plant has nothing to offer our community. They are using our environmental resources for their personal gains. Fishing on Seneca Lake is on the decline due to various reasons, and the last thing we need now is 130 million gallons being put back in the lake at 108 degrees every day," said Kees Stapel, fisherman and Vineyard Manager of Boundary Breaks Winery.

"At Waterloo Container we have always believed that our land, lakes, scenery and quality of life significantly contribute to who we are. Businesses that detract from our natural resources, businesses that threaten our environment and endanger our way of life and our very existence have NO PLACE in the Finger Lakes. We cannot in good faith allow Greenridge's subtle erosion of our natural resources to continue. We stand with Seneca Lake Guardian and are committed to protecting our environment," said Mark Pitifer, Special Projects Manager for Waterloo Container.


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.

Proof-of-work cryptocurrency 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. It produces 30,700 metric tons of e-waste each year, comparable to the yearly IT equipment waste of the Netherlands.

There are 49 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 gases by 2050 and 100% zero-emission electricity by 2040.

Crypto mining 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 and causing huge amounts of noise pollution, is now unconstitutional.

Crypto mining privatizes access to the grid for private gain 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."

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.