(Bloomberg) -- New York State rejected the renewal permit for a power plant used by Greenidge Generation Holdings Inc. for Bitcoin mining, a decision that comes after about six months of delays.
The Department of Environmental Conservation said it denied the application because of statewide limits on greenhouse gas emissions.
The ruling comes amid a heated debate between environmental groups and cryptocurrency miners about Bitcoin mining, which uses energy-intensive computers to process records of transactions and earn rewards in the virtual currency. It has become one of the most lucrative businesses and has expanded rapidly in the US.
Still, New York is putting forward restrictive measures on crypto mining facilities. The state Senate recently passed a bill that bars miners from using fossil-fuel sources to power their operations.
The bill is set to be delivered to Governor Kathy Hochul, who will decide whether it should become law. Hochul didn’t respond to a request for comment on the legislation.
This is the first time Greenidge’s permits to operate the natural-gas fired facility in upstate Dresden have come up for renewal. The state agency delayed decisions in January and again in March.
In its notice, the regulator said Greenidge hasn’t identified adequate mitigation measures or alternatives, and the mining operation’s inconsistency with emission limits isn’t justified.
Greenidge has said its operations are carbon neutral. Still, environmental advocates have criticized the mine, and politicians such as US Senator Elizabeth Warren have questioned the entire industry about its impact on the climate.
“Governor Hochul and the DEC stood with science and the people, and sent a message to outside speculators: New York’s former fossil fuel-burning plants are not yours to reopen as gas-guzzling Bitcoin mining cancers on our communities,” said Yvonne Taylor, vice president of Seneca Lake Guardian, a nonprofit group advocating for environmental protection.
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