Environmentalists Sue New York Over Bitcoin Mining Plant Approval

• Environmentalists have filed a lawsuit against the New York Public Service Commission (PSC) for allowing the takeover of a bitcoin mining plant in the state.
• The plant was slated to be taken over by the Canadian cryptocurrency mining company Digihost and is situated in Tonawanda, a town less than 10 miles from Niagara Falls.
• The lawsuit asserts that the Fortistar plant was only used when there was a significant demand for energy and that environmental reviews were required by New York state when considering projects.

Environmentalists in New York have filed a lawsuit against the New York Public Service Commission (PSC) for approving the conversion of the Fortistar North power plant into a crypto-mining facility. The plant, which is situated in Tonawanda, a town less than 10 miles from Niagara Falls, was slated to be taken over by the Canadian cryptocurrency mining company Digihost. The case was filed on January 13th, and it argues that the approval violates the 2019 New York climate law.

The Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA) contains a number of objectives, including achieving zero-emission electricity by 2040 and a reduction of 85% of state-wide emissions by 2050. Environmentalists argue that the Fortistar plant was only used when there was a significant demand for energy, such as during severe weather. However, the location would operate around-the-clock as a crypto mining facility, producing up to 3,000% greater greenhouse gas emissions.

The lawsuit is being filed by Earthjustice on behalf of the Clean Air Coalition of Western New York and the Sierra Club. They are asserting that environmental reviews were required by New York state when considering projects, and that the PSC failed to take this into account when approving the takeover. The PSC approved the conversion of the Fortistar North power plant into a crypto-mining facility in September 2022.

This case is yet another example of the tension between the need to protect the environment and the desire to support technological advancement. Cryptocurrency mining is an energy-intensive process, and many have raised concerns about the environmental impact of such operations. This lawsuit is an important step in ensuring that the environment is protected while allowing innovators to make advances in the field of cryptocurrency.