“As the first governor of upstate New York in nearly a century, I recognize the importance of creating economic opportunity in communities that have been left behind,” said Buffalo’s Democratic governor. in the memorandum accompanying his approval.
“I am signing this legislation to build on New York’s Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, the nation’s most aggressive climate and clean energy law, while continuing our ongoing efforts to support the economic development and job creation in upstate New York.”
The new law will also trigger a study by the state Department of Environmental Conservation to investigate the impacts of the cryptocurrency mining industry on the environment.
The measure has been hotly debated in the halls of the state Capitol this year, with environmental groups pushing lawmakers and Hochul to support the bill and industry urging Hochul to reject it.
“Thank you, Governor Hochul, for stepping up to protect New Yorkers from corporate bullies who want to exploit communities like mine in the Finger Lakes,” Yvonne Taylor, vice president of Seneca Lake Guardian, an environmental group that lobbied for the closure of a local gas-powered cryptocurrency facility. “The crypto industry is going to complain that it’s a blow, but it’s not.”
The bill is narrow in scope, despite its revolutionary steps. The dozen state operations that draw electricity from the grid would not be affected, nor would individuals buying or mining cryptocurrency or other blockchain activities. And the moratorium on new or renewed licenses does not apply if the company has already filed documents to operate in New York.
Still, the law has raised fears in the industry that it will lead other states to follow suit and hurt the industry, which has already faced a tough time among investors.
In June, the state denied a key permit for a gas-powered cryptocurrency mining operation in the Finger Lakes, claiming the Greenidge facility was spewing too much planet-warming pollution to be allowed under the state’s climate law. But the company opposes this decision, and the plant continues operate.
Business groups ripped Hochul for signing the ban into law.
“The Business Council does not believe the legislature should seek to categorically limit the growth and expansion of any business or industry in New York City,” the group said in a statement. “We plan to engage them more and educate them about this industry and the benefits it offers to the local, regional and national economy.”