Seneca Lake Guardian + Strong Economy For All to DFS Commissioner Harris: Read the Room!

NEW YORK, NY (07/20/2022) (readMedia)-- This morning, NYS Department of Financial Services Commissioner Adrienne A. Harris spoke as part of "The City's Path to Becoming the World's Crypto Capital" panel. Yvonne Taylor, vice president of Seneca Lake Guardian, issued the following statement in response:

"It's grossly irresponsible to see the DFS commissioner continuing to push financial products that have cost people their life savings, especially in the middle of a climate crisis. The same week that President Biden is about to declare a national emergency on climate, and just weeks after Governor Hochul and the DEC took decisive action to shut down a fossil fuel burning Bitcoin plant, the Governor's own chief financial regulator is shamefully boosting a climate change-accelerating scam. If Governor Hochul means it when she says "we are taking bold action and building a stronger, more resilient New York," she'll sign the cryptomining moratorium now, and tell her DFS commissioner to stand up for our planet, not the people killing it."

Charles Khan, organizing director at Strong Economy for All, added:

"It's baffling and shockingly stupid that the Department of Financial Services is still hell bent on making NY the "Crypto Capital." Crypto markets are down 50% this year (more than double the S&P 500), firms are filing for bankruptcy because of mismanagement, the industry has birthed the most lucrative con-artist schemes in history, fossil fueled crypto-mining is turbo charging the climate crisis and their legal departments are unsurprisingly neck deep in lawsuits. Sadly, all of this pales in comparison to the damage crypto has done to unsuspecting working class investors, many of them Black and Brown people now stripped of their life savings. So why the hell would New Yorkers want to be the capital of this and why does Commissioner Harris continue to ignore the facts?"


Proof-of-work cryptocurrency mining (which Bitcoin uses) 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 year 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. 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.

These facilities are also major emitters of methane and toxic air pollutants including benzene, formaldehyde and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), which are precursors of ground level ozone pollution and known causes of asthma, heart attacks, strokes, reproductive damage and preterm birth.

The crypto industry claims that cryptomining can be good for the environment, but these claims have been thoroughly debunked.

Powering Bitcoin mining with renewables is not a viable solution, as renewables supply cannot possibly meet the extreme energy demands of Bitcoin mining in addition to daily necessities such as heating and cooling homes and running cars. Any renewable energy that supports Bitcoin mining is renewable energy that is being diverted from the public grid. And 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.

At a recent Environmental Conservation budget hearing when asked about the potential impact of the escalating cryptocurrency mining activity in upstate NY on the states energy grid, the NYS Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) President Doreen Harris stated, "There could be a very significant impact on NY load resulting from cryptocurrency mining depending on the penetration of the resource."

Cryptomining is also at odds with the overwhelmingly popular amendment to the state constitution passed last year, which guarantees 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, water and climate, all while causing huge amounts of noise pollution, is now unconstitutional - and ought to be treated as such.

Reform groups Common Cause/NY and NYPIRG have specifically criticized the crypto mining industry for exploiting public resources and straining the energy grid for private gain, and a group of federal lawmakers led by Senator Elizabeth Warren requested details from six major Bitcoin mining companies about their electricity usage and contributions to climate change. Earlier this month, President Biden issued an executive order requiring federal agencies study the legal, economic, and environmental impacts of cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin mining. Even the Mayor of New York City, Eric Adams, an avid crypto booster has come out against mining, declaring at a February 9th joint session of the Legislature: "I support cryptocurrency, not crypto mining."

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.