Sierra Club leads lawsuit against NY town to prevent expanding Bitcoin mining operations

The lawsuit alleges Greenidge circumvented state laws by seeking regulatory approval “through two separate but interdependent approval applications.”

Several organizations have filed a lawsuit against the town of Torrey, New York for approving a plan to expand a Bitcoin mining facility near one of the Finger Lakes.

In court documents filed on Thursday in the State of New York Supreme Court, the Sierra Club, Seneca Lake Guardian, the Committee to Preserve the Finger Lakes, and more than 20 local residents alleged that the local government violated state laws by approving Greenidge Generation’s site plan to expand the operations for its existing Bitcoin (BTC) mining facility.

Allegations in the lawsuit state that Greenidge circumvented laws which require an Environment Impact Statement by seeking regulatory approval “through two separate but interdependent approval applications.” New York residents who joined the lawsuit have various reasons for filing with the Sierra Club, ranging from potential noise complaints, and speculation that the mining facility would contaminate the lakewater, negatively affecting the wildlife and recreational activities.

The Greenidge power plant in the nearby town of Dresden uses a pipeline to bring natural gas directly to the plant, generating the power consumed by its Bitcoin mining facility and lowering costs. Private equity firm Atlas Holding owns the facility and installed 7,000 crypto mining machines last year.

According to local news outlet Fingerlakes1, the plant has operated “only intermittently and far below its generating capacity” recently. Greenidge applied for an expansion with local authorities, requesting it be allowed to construct and operate four new buildings with Bitcoin mining equipment. This addition to the facility would reportedly allow Greenidge to operate “at full capacity, full time.”

At a town board boarding in October, the company claimed the Bitcoin mining facility would “remain firmly inside the environmental limits set by the state and federal governments.” 

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