New York Democrat Senators Kevin S. Parker and Rachel May are proposing New York Senate Bill 6486 which would effectively ban cryptocurrency mining for three years in an attempt to cut down on the carbon footprint. It is a well-known downside to cryptocurrency that the mining process eats up a of energy and many countries around the world are looking for solutions to the issue.
In addition to the ban, the bill aims to enact stricter regulations for miners like requiring them to undergo a review to make sure they comply with New York’s climate targets.
The bill itself isn’t finished yet but a proposal is available to the public and lays down the key arguments government officials will be making. In the proposal, it states “A single cryptocurrency transaction uses the same amount of energy that an average American household uses in one month, with an estimated level of global energy usage equivalent to that of the country of Sweden…”
A new bill introduced in the New York Senate would pause bitcoin mining in the state for 3 years so its environmental impact can be reviewed. The bill was presented by Democratic state Sen. Kevin Parker to NY's Senate Environmental Conservation Committee on May 3. pic.twitter.com/MBHIKvEf2t
— NowThis (@nowthisnews) May 5, 2021
The proposal also states the greenhouse gas emissions that come as a result of the mining go against the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, a New York law that set environmental targets for the states such as eventually having the state run on 100% zero-emission electricity by 2040.
Cryptocurrency mining has been a contentious topic in New York which has been further exacerbated by companies looking to get into the game. Greenidge Generation, a natural gas power plant located on the shores of Seneca Lake in Dresden, New York, has begun a Bitcoin mining operation using its surplus gas to power it.
Greenidge called its operation “clean” and “environmentally sound”; however it conveniently leaves out the fact that natural gas does create a lot of pollution like nitrogen oxides which can lead to smog.
In several places around the world, bitcoin mining has already been banned such as in China’s Inner Mongolia where crypto mining projects were banned and existing ones shut down in an attempt to cut down on energy consumption. Even the state of New York has banned cryptocurrency mining as back in 2018, the city of Plattsburgh banned the act for 18 months.
Since crypto mining eats up a lot of electricity, miners go to places with cheap electricity to offset costs, but this, in turn, hurts the locals as the operations have caused energy bills to skyrocket.
Proponents of the bill have some venomous words for cryptocurrency mining and Greenidge’s operations with the Vice President of the Environmental Group Seneca Lake Guardian saying “We’re talking about burning more fossil fuels to make fake money in the middle of climate change. The bill hasn’t gotten widespread support from other senators, but the Democratic party controls the state control the lower house and senate so things could change.
As for my opinion, I obviously disagree with the statewide ban. I understand the environmental concern and I do think things should change so that crypto mining is more environmentally friendly, but a ban is the government overextending itself. It’s encroaching on personal freedoms and I don’t support that.