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Cuomo Addresses Bitcoin Mining: “There Are Serious Concerns”

VESTAL, NY (WSKG) — New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said there were “serious concerns” about Bitcoin mining operations’ potential environmental impacts and that he would review legislation on the topic currently pending in the state legislature.

When asked about the legislation in a press conference Monday, the Governor said he was not familiar with the legislation, but said he was familiar with the general issues being raised around cryptocurrency mining.

"There are serious concerns. There's no doubt about that. There are serious concerns. And I'll look at the legislation,” Cuomo said when prompted to address cryptocurrency mining more broadly.

Cuomo’s comments come a few days after environmental advocates rallied outside regional DEC headquarters in Avon where they called for the agency not to renew air permits for Greenidge Generation’s power plant in Yates County along Seneca Lake.

In April, the Town of Torrey Planning Board gave the go-ahead for Greenidge to expand its Bitcoin mining operation at the plant. This fueled outrage from environmental advocates who take issue with running the natural gas-burning plant at its permitted levels. Greenidge Board Members say they plan on dedicating around 85 megawatts of power toward Bitcoin mining at the Torrey plant, which has an overall capacity of 106 megawatts.

The plant’s expansion was the impetus for several pieces of legislation aimed at studying and temporarily curtailing new cryptocurrency mining operations across the state. The fate of those bills remains unclear as the state legislature’s session is set to wrap up on Thursday.

Any bills passed would require Cuomo’s signature. Last week, New York Focus reported that major Democratic and Cuomo donors are poised to control a major stake in Greenidge’s parent companies, though a spokesman for the Governor denied that would affect his stance on the cryptocurrency mining bills.

Vaughn Golden has been reporting across New York since 2016. Working as a freelancer while studying journalism and economics at Ithaca College, Vaughn has reported for a number of outlets including the Albany Times Union, New York Post, and NPR among others. Prior to coming to WSKG full-time, Vaughn was a reporter for the Watertown Daily Times. Vaughn now covers government and politics for WSKG.