A county in the U.S. state of Montana that is weighing whether it should halt new and expanded bitcoin mining initiatives now won’t make a final decision until at least August.
The Missoula County Commission held a public hearing on Thursday aimed to decide on a proposed one-year suspension of new mining initiatives, but postponed the ruling as it was decided that more information is needed to address relevant concerns, according to the Missoulian.
While supporters of bitcoin mining farms argued that such operations created jobs for local residents, others expressed concerns the noise generated by bitcoin mining may undermine local property values and that excessive energy consumption could cause hikes in electricity rates, the report states.
Following the hearing, county commissioners Jean Curtiss and Cola Rowley noted that more education and outreach would be needed before issuing the moratorium, as the committee still doesn’t fully understand “all the impacts in the future or the long game.”
The proposed suspension notably comes a year after the Montana became the first state in the U.S. to provide public funds to a bitcoin mining farm in a bid to boost employment opportunities.
As previously reported by CoinDesk, the state government awarded a grant of $416,000 to Missoula County in June of last year to support a mining project called Spokane.
Like the neighboring state of Washington, Montana has been an attractive base for bitcoin mining operations due to its cold weather, which reduces the need for artificial cooling of mining rigs, and more affordable power costs, the report said.
Yet, recently, officials from two counties in Washington state – Mason and Chelan – said they have temporarily stopped taking in new applications from bitcoin mining projects due to the spiking electricity demands associated with such operations.
Electric grid image via Shutterstock