In a major win for environmental groups, Gov. Kathy Hochul signed legislation Tuesday, placing a two-year ban on new, large-scale operations used to generate cryptocurrency.
Environmental activists, like Yvonne Taylor, Vice President of Seneca Lake Guardian, argue energy-intensive, Bitcoin-mining operations use large amounts of fossil fuels and work against the state’s goals to reduce carbon emissions.
“We’re so proud to be a part of New York state where our governor truly cares about the environment and climate change enough to sign this moratorium bill into law,” Taylor said.
The legislation is the first such statewide ban on large-scale cryptocurrency-mining operations in the U.S.
While the moratorium is in place, the Department of Environmental Conservation will conduct a study of the potential environmental impacts cryptocurrency mining may have on the state.
The legislation’s sponsor, Tompkins and Cortland County Assemblymember Anna Kelles praised the governor’s move. She said she thinks the DEC study required by the legislation is an overlooked part of the bill, and looks forward to having more concrete data.
“As a scientist, I am very excited about the idea of comprehensive data collection to base our discussion, our future discussions on,” Kelles said.
Cryptocurrency industry groups have spent millions lobbying against the moratorium, which they argue will stunt the sector’s growth.