ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Governor Kathy Hochul has signed legislation which places a two year moratorium on certain types of cryptocurrency mining in New York State.
Proof-of-work cryptocurrency is work done by mega computers referred to as miners. Liz Moran, New York Policy Advocate for Earth Justice explained how it works.
“Mega computers are running 24/7 to compete against one another to solve complex algorithms,” said Moran. ‘Whatever computer has solved the algorithm has done the work, so to speak, and they get to win the currency. That’s ultimately why proof-of-work cryptomining is so energy consumptive.”
It’s that energy that has environmental advocates concerned. This type of mining uses a lot of electricity powered by carbon-based fuel. Senator Rachel May, who represents parts of Finger Lakes Region, said this type of mining can impact the environment.
“There are hundreds and hundreds of small businesses that wrote in opposition to cryptocurrency mining efforts on Seneca Lake because it takes so much water and returns it to the lake warmer, which makes it more likely to have harmful algal blooms, it kills the trout that spawn there, and it has a potential of harming things like the wine growing industry,” said May.
According a memo from the Executive Chamber, the state will still allow permits for electric energy facilities that use alternatives such as hydropower. It will also require the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation to issue an environmental impact statement review.
However, not everyone is happy about the new law.
The Business Council released a statement which said, “The Business Council does not believe the legislature should seek to categorically limit the growth and expansion of any business or sector in New York. We plan to further engage and help educate them regarding this industry and the benefits it provides to the local, regional, and state economy.”