The New York State Assembly failed to pass an environmental protection bill that would have clamped down on new and expanding bitcoin mining operations.

  • Sources familiar with the matter confirmed to CoinDesk that opposition from union groups, specifically the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, led to the bill's demise. The bill died Thursday with the closing of the current legislative session.
  • While supporting the environmental goals, the union said the bill would "prohibit a business based upon whether it obtains its power from a generator behind the meter versus from the grid and targets the use of a specific technology,” according to a letter opposing the measure from IBEW Legislative Counsel Addie A.E. Jenne.
  • The original bill proposed in the New York State Legislature by Sen. Kevin S. Parker (D-Brooklyn) would have enacted a freeze on new mining endeavors in accordance with the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act of 2019.
  • A modified version passed the state Senate earlier this week.
  • If passed, the bill would have required scrutiny of the environmental impact of current mining operations in the state. 
  • The bill was proposed at a time when an inactive coal plant in upstate New York was recommissioned as a plant fueling Greenidge Generation’s mining apparatuses with 19 megawatts of natural gas.
  • Although environmental goals are at stake with the bill’s failure to pass, profitable mining plants such as Greenidge have increasingly been making commitments to a future of carbon neutral mining. 

Danny Nelson contributed reporting.

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