Letter: Deny cryptocurrency owners use of damaging fossil fuels
For anyone tuning in late, cryptocurrency is a hard-to-understand digital form of money that takes enormous amounts of electric power to create, and which speculators are having a field day with. Towering utility bills are one of the main costs of running a cryptocurrency mine. Hence the latest strategy by Canadian cryptocurrency creator Digihost: Buy its own power plant, the Fortistar North Tonawanda gas plant in Niagara County.
But while cheaper for Digihost, gas-fueled energy is massively expensive for the health, safety, security and future of our society. Do you see the haze of wildfire smoke blowing in from the burning West? The fatal floods in Germany, Belgium and China? All these phenomena are due to burning fossil fuels, which has led to the inescapable climate crisis which is occurring right now.
But right now it’s murky, under the state’s Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, whether cryptocurrency outfits can buy and operate their own gas plants in defiance of the spirit of the climate law. The CLCPA’s plain language requires an environmental review process, but right now, gas companies are using the fact that they are keeping energy generated onsite and not sending it to the grid as a way to escape regulation. To counter that potential wrinkle, State Sen. Kevin S. Parker introduced legislation in the last session to create a moratorium on cryptocurrency mining in New York.
But the critical piece is that the Public Service Commission must take a stand and deny a permit to Digihost and other cryptocurrency operators from using fossil fuels, as this would be counter to the CLCPA. Gov. Andrew Cuomo, too, needs to stand firm against any and all new gas-powered plants in our state.
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