Environmentalists celebrated after Democratic New York Gov. Kathy Hochul on Tuesday approved a two-year moratorium on permits for fossil fuel plants that power cryptocurrency mining operations which use proof-of-work authentication methods to validate blockchain transactions.
While the cryptocurrency industry and its allies opposed the measure—the Digital Chamber of Commerce said it was “severely disappointed” with Hochul’s decision to sign the bill into law and set a “dangerous precedent” for energy rules—environmental campaigners heralded it as a model.
“This first-in-the-nation law should set the standard for every other state where crypto miners are coming in, extracting resources, and wreaking havoc,” said Liz Moran, Earthjustice’s New York policy advocate, in a statement. “Thank you, Gov. Hochul, for setting a precedent for the rest of the country and staying true to New York’s climate law mandates.”
After also thanking the bill sponsors, Assembly Member Anna Kelles (D-125) and Sen. Kevin Parker (D-21), “and all of the advocates who were critical to this effort,” Moran noted that the law requires a study by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC).
“We’re very much looking forward to the DEC’s fact-finding review, which we’re confident will affirm what Earthjustice and the White House have already concluded: crypto mining is a major threat to climate security and needs to be closely regulated,” she said.
The Divest NY coalition declared that “New York is once again leading the nation on climate.”
In a memorandum Tuesday, Hochul pointed out that “the legislation would still allow the issuance of permits for eclectic energy facilities that use alternatives to carbon-based fuel, such as hydropower, which would permit growth and business development in this industry.”
Originally published at Commondreams.org.