Environmental advocates celebrate new cryptomining law

After months of waiting, environmental advocates got the governor’s signature.

On Tuesday, Gov. Kathy Hochul signed into law a moratorium on some crypto mining operations.

“We shouldn’t allow for any industry or any technology without any consciousness or protection for the environment,” said Assemblymember Anna Kelles, one of the main sponsors of the bill.

What You Need To Know

  • There will be a two-year moratorium on some cryptomining
  • Creating some cryptocurrencies requires vast amounts of electricity and goes against the state’s climate goals
  • Environmental activists feared retired fossil-fueled power plants were at risk of being restarted by the cryptocurrency industry

Creating some crypto currencies like bitcoin requires huge amounts of electricity.

There are currently two fossil-fueled power plants upstate devoted to this practice, and environmental advocates feared that some of the 38 retired plants in the state were at risk of being restarted by this new industry.

“What we needed to do was sort of put a halt, put a pause,” Kelles said.

New permits for these types of non-renewable energy facilities will stop for two years, while the state studies the true environmental impact of cryptomining.

Among other goals, the state wants to have 70% of the industry’s electricity generated from renewable sources by 2030.

“New York State needs jobs, there’s no question it needs jobs. But those jobs can’t come at the expense of both violating the existing climate law and also having enormously negative impacts on the state’s land, air and water,” said Richard Schrader, Northeast Policy Director at the Natural Resources Defense Council.

In a statement, The Business Council said that it “does not believe the legislature should seek to categorically limit the growth and expansion of any business or sector in New York.”

New York City Mayor Eric Adams has been a strong supporter of cryptocurrencies.

In a statement, a spokesperson for the mayor said:

“We will continue to work with Governor Hochul and state legislators to craft responsible regulations that address the environmental concerns associated with crypto mining, while continuing to support the growth of this burgeoning industry here in New York. “

According to estimates, just the bitcoin network needs as much electricity as the whole country of The Netherlands.

China banned cryptocurrency mining last year.

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