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NY delays Finger Lakes Bitcoin mining plant’s permitting decision

VESTAL, NY (WSKG) — The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation pushed back its deadline to reach a decision over a controversial Finger Lakes power plant and Bitcoin mining facility Thursday.

The environmental regulator wrote that it has not determined “the sufficiency” of greenhouse gas mitigation measures proposed by Greenidge Generation. In a letter included in the DEC’s update, Greenidge proposed a condition to its new permit that the facility be “zero carbon emitting” by 2030.

“We look forward to finalizing a strong, renewed Title V Permit to allow Greenidge to continue its environmental and economic stewardship in New York,” a Greenidge spokesperson wrote in a statement.

Environmental activists opposed to the plant spurned the DEC’s delay. Yvonne Taylor, vice president of Seneca Lake Guardian, accused New York Gov. Kathy Hochul of delaying the decision on political grounds.

"This is an apparent attempt to cover her own political interests and a complete abdication of her responsibility,” Taylor said on a call with reporters Friday.

The next deadline imposed by the DEC is June 30, two days after statewide primary elections.

Taylor reiterated her call for the state Legislature to pass a bill by Ithaca Assemblymember Anna Kelles (D-125) to implement a temporary moratorium on some cryptocurrency mining.

Vaughn Golden has been reporting across New York since 2016. Working as a freelancer while studying journalism and economics at Ithaca College, Vaughn has reported for a number of outlets including the Albany Times Union, New York Post, and NPR among others. Prior to coming to WSKG full-time, Vaughn was a reporter for the Watertown Daily Times. Vaughn now covers government and politics for WSKG.