The New York Public Service Commission (PSCfor its acronym in English) was sued by environmental activists on January 13 for approving the takeover of a cryptocurrency mining facility in the state.
According to The Guardian, the state Public Service Commission (PSC) is responsible for regulating public servicesand authorized in September 2022 the conversion of the Fortistar North power plant into a cryptocurrency mining facility.
The facility is located in Tonawanda, a city less than ten miles from Niagara Falls.and was scheduled to be taken over by Canadian cryptocurrency mining company Digihost.
The plaintiffs allege that approval violates New York’s climate law of 2019. The Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA) sets a goal of 85% statewide emissions reductions by 2050, and zero-emissions electricity by 2040, among other targets.
In the lawsuit, the Clean Air Coalition of Western New York and the Sierra Club are represented by the nonprofit organization Earthjustice, alleging that the Fortistar plant only operated during periods of high demand for electricity, such as extreme weather conditions. As a cryptocurrency mining plant, however, it would be running 24 hours a day, generating up to 3,000% more greenhouse gas emissions..
Activists argue that New York state should conduct environmental reviews when examining projects.
In October 2021, a letter from a local business group asked the state to deny the conversion of the power plant to a cryptocurrency mining facilityalleging that:
“Proof-of-Work cryptocurrency mining uses enormous amounts of energy to power the computers needed to run the business…if this activity were to expand in New York, it could drastically undermine New York’s climate goals established under of the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act”.
According to public documents, Digihost planned to convert the facility to renewable natural gas to reduce its environmental impact.. The company also noted that the mine site was approved by the North Tonawanda planning commissionwhich conducts environmental reviews before making decisions.
In August, Digihost also revealed plans to move some of its mining equipment from New York to Alabama in an effort to reduce energy costs.Cointelegraph reported.
Digihost did not immediately respond to Cointelegraph’s request for comment.
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