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New York State legislation would curb new crypto mining operations; bills await governor’s action

July 14, 2022
By: Conor Gowder

Since the inception of cryptocurrency mining over a decade ago, the state of New York has become a hotspot for the digital coins, encompassing 19.9 percent of the total U.S. hashrate, or the collective computing power of miners. However, concerns over the environmental impacts of, and high electricity demands for, these mining operations have been increasingly thrust into the spotlight. With the goal of addressing the above, two highly contested bills have been making their way through the legislative system in New York.

New York’s Assembly Bills A7389C and A9275, have been passed by the legislature and, if signed by Gov. Kathy Hochul, would establish a moratorium on new and renewed air permits for fossil fuel power plants used for crypto mining and establish a state crypto and blockchain study task force respectively.

Hochul has previously stated her desire to ensure that any legislation has a balance between economic benefits and environmental consequences. She has not indicated what action she plans to take on the bills. According to the New York Times, Hochul likely has until Dec. 31 to either sign or veto the bills.

According to an article by the Associated Press, advocates of crypto see these bills as unreasonably targeted jabs at their industry, ignoring more pressing fossil fuel uses, potentially crippling a space with long-term prospects that “far outweigh … prospective future emissions.”

Alternatively, an article by Bankrate highlights the environmental impacts, showing that crypto mining accounts for an estimated 22 to 22.9 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions every year, with sources indicating that emissions from bitcoin alone could increase the average global temperature by upwards of 2 degrees centigrade. An article by Route Fifty describes how environmental advocates hope the proposed two-year moratorium on new crypto mining would give New York a chance at achieving compliance with the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, while gathering more thorough information on metrics such as water usage and ecological impacts.

New Yorkcrypto, legislation