Clean Air Coalition of Western New York and Sierra Club represented by Earthjustice, a nonprofit public interest environmental law organization, filed suit with the Supreme Court of Albany County. The lawsuit was filed citing violations of New York’s Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA) in the approval of a fossil fuel-burning Proof of Work (PoW) cryptocurrency mining operation.
Predicting a possible danger, the lawsuit challenged the New York Public Service Commission (PSC)’s approval to transfer ownership of the occasionally utilized power plant in New York, making it into a 24/7 crypto mining operation. This is the first lawsuit which is demanding that a state agency should follow the legal obligations established by N.Y. state’s climate law.
CLCPA stated that the PSC approved the sale of Fortistar North Tonawanda, a 55-megawatt fracked gas power plant located in Western New York to Digihost International, a Canadian cryptocurrency mining company.
Moreover, CLCPA pinpointed that Fortistar has only operated between 10 and 74 days per year, emitting relatively small amounts of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other harmful air pollutants. However, with the approval of the PSC, Digihost will be able to operate 24×7 throughout the year, thus, increasing the overall greenhouse gas emissions by up to 3,500% in New York.
The Executive Director of Clean Air Coalition of Western New York expressed his emotions, claiming:
The PSC is failing in its role as a regulatory body to protect public health and to uphold the requirements of the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act.
The effect of the PoW consensus mechanism on nature has been a never-ending debate among crypto enthusiasts and the general public. Furthermore, The White House had also earlier submitted a Fact Sheet about the climate implications of crypto assets in the US.