A bill introduced to the New York State Senate aims to halt bitcoin mining for three years until the state assesses its environmental impact.
New York Senate Bill 6486 was submitted by Senator Kevin Parker to the State Senate Environmental Protection Committee on Monday, The Block first reported.
The bill will specifically address the greenhouse gas emissions caused by bitcoin mining, including their impact on water, air and wildlife. The evaluation will produce a report that will then be posted to the public and subject to a 120-day public comment period.
“Cryptocurrency mining hubs are a growing industry in New York State, often, but not exclusively, located in decommissioned or refurbished fossil fuel power plants, including idle peak power plants,” the bill says.
If the bill passes, it will affect the growing industry, especially in upstate New York, where bitcoin mining capacity is more readily available and aided by cooler weather that also protects equipment from overheating.
Among the mining centers operating in upstate New York, according to CoinDesk, is Greenidge Generation Holdings, a natural gas power plant in the Finger Lakes area that can mine an average of 5.5 bitcoins every day. The facility was previously a coal-fired power plant, but switched to natural gas in 2017, and to a Bitcoin mining hub in January 2020, according to its website.
Bitcoin mining has long been criticized for its high power consumption and environmental impact. Various studies, including a study by the University of Cambridge, have shown that mining bitcoin around the world consumes more energy every year than some entire countries.
However, many Bitcoin proponents argue that renewable energy is increasingly being used in mining.
Bitcoin is up 83% since the beginning of the year. It briefly broke the $ 64,000 record ahead of Coinbase’s direct listing, and then plunged about 36% to $ 47,000 after about 10 days.