Pennsylvania: A New Hub for Cryptomining Ignites Environmental Concerns
Following a surge in the energy-consuming cryptomining industry in Pennsylvania, calls for regulation have grown louder, echoing the White House’s proposal for a new tax on the industry’s colossal electricity usage, according to the Inquirer.
In an attempt to curb the industry’s contribution to climate change, the administration has targeted its substantial power consumption, which accounts for approximately 1.7% of the United States’ electricity use. The energy required for cryptomining, particularly Bitcoin, is now comparable to the total energy needs of all home computers or residential lighting across the nation.
Cryptomining companies have sprung up across Pennsylvania, primarily fueled by dirty, affordable fossil fuels, including waste coal and fracked gas. These practices, conducted with minimal oversight, have raised concerns over their environmental and health impacts.
In a worrying trend, Stronghold Digital Mining, a prominent cryptomining company, has purchased two waste coal plants in the state, burning piles of coal refuse to generate power. This process releases large quantities of nitrogen oxide and sulfur dioxide, harmful air pollutants.
Adding to the problem, Diversified Production LLC has revived gas well pads to fuel their cryptomining operations, leading to a surge in harmful greenhouse gases and air toxins.
Ironically, the state’s tax code currently encourages this harmful practice, with various subsidies making Pennsylvania an attractive location for cryptomining operations. Critics argue that this is a dangerous investment that could undermine Pennsylvania’s efforts to reduce air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.
As the clock ticks, it’s time for Pennsylvania to reconsider its stance on cryptomining and address the urgent need for regulation.