City Councilman Crusades to End Crypto Mining Ban In New York Town

Kevin O'Brien

The small city of Plattsburgh New York made headlines back in March 2018 after officials levied an 18-month moratorium on new crypto mining operations.

The City Council said an influx of cryptocurrency miners sent electricity prices skyrocketing and resulted in an lot of unwanted noise.

In early 2019, the ban still stands, but City Councilor Patrick McFarlin introduced a resolution that would see the restriction lifted if passed, according to the Press-Republican, a local news outlet.

Trying To Keep The Ban On People’s Minds

McFarlin gave two reasons for putting forth the resolution at a recent city council meeting. He believes the moratorium should not be forgotten by city leadership and wants people to have plenty of time to “contact the council with their own concerns.”

He also argued the decision to halt new operations was a matter for state agencies, not city officials. The Press-Republican noted the moratoruim can be abolished before 18 months if there is a determination the issues that led to its existance were resolved.

Plattsburgh, nestled near the shores of Lake Champlain, saw a flurry of miners after they discovered the area had very cheap electricity due to hydroelectric dams, according to Forbes.

City residents enjoyed a quota of cheap electricity due to a 50-year compact, but mining rigs quickly sent prices for power skyrocketing. Some residents noted their monthly electricity bills jumped by as much as 50%.

The moratorium on mining was put in place in order to prevent the issue from getting worse, even though it has only banned future operations. Laws also went into place that mandated operators recycle a percentage of generated heat and electricity.

In October 2018, a local law was passed that addressed resident concerns related to noise levels, worker heat, ventilation, and electricity safety.

Trying To Decide What The Next Steps Are

McFarlin indicated city leadership should stay “on topic” and pass legislation to protect citizens.

The issue of mining noise has been a topic of concern that has not yet been solved. One couple in the area said they were forced to keep their windows closed in the summer due to the loud fans that are used to cool the mining computers.

According to McFarlin, city councillors and others desire to update the noise ordnances before lifting the new mining moratorium. With respect to this point, he indicated lifting the ban could be tabled until any further legislation is enacted.

The city councillor indicated “we have had proposals from local entrepreneurs who have novel business ideas that cannot go forward until the moratorium is lifted,” the Press-Republican reported.