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Greenidge Generation air permit proceedings continue

The Greenidge Generation plant in Torrey, NY.
Vaughn Golden
The Greenidge Generation plant in Torrey, NY.

The proceedings over whether or not to allow a cryptocurrency mining operation on Seneca Lake are taking another step forward.

Last year, New York's Environmental Conservation Department denied renewal of Greenidge Generation’s air pollution permit. The natural gas-burning power plant also dedicates a large share of its energy generation to Bitcoin mining.

An administrative law judge is allowing Greenidge’s appeal of its air permit denials to move forward, but is narrowing the arguments the company can make.

In a preliminary ruling, the administrative judge found that Greenidge’s operations were materially changed by implementing cryptocurrency mining and that it violates emissions standards set in New York’s climate law.

Environmental advocates say this is part of a string of rulings against natural gas burners in the state that they consider favorable.

"New York's been building an important track record though that Greenidge follows in the footsteps of, denying the permits for Astoria and Danskammer gas plants as just a couple of examples,” EarthJustice Policy Advocate Liz Moran said.

A Greenidge spokesperson framed the ruling positively, saying it permits the company’s appeal of the permit denials to move forward. The company, meanwhile, continues to operate under the provisions of its old permits.

The judge is allowing the parties in the case several weeks to appeal the initial determinations before fully adjudicating the remaining issues at hand.

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.