The Schuyler County Legislature is calling on the DEC to study and develop regulations around cryptocurrency mining.
The resolution was tabled at last month’s meeting in order to give representatives time to research the issue. At Monday night’s meeting, the resolution passed unanimously.
Mark Rondinaro chairs the Legislature’s Community Development and Natural Resource Committee, which put forward the resolution.He believes that it's the first of its kind to come out of a New York state county.
What’s motivating this resolution is that some cryptocurrency, like bitcoin, is really energy intensive.
Rondinaro said cryptocurrency miners find places like the village of Watkins Glen attractive because of their uncommonly cheap energy prices.
He said, “What's driving all of this is the fact that basically, they’re looking to arbitrage the cheapest electric rates to find loopholes to get this in places where the electricity -- for some reason -- is substantially lower than market price.”
If a cryptocurrency operation were to move into Watkins Glen without any regulations shaping it, it could drive prices up for businesses and homeowners.
The resolution also makes the point that cryptocurrency mining could potentially come in conflict with the climate goals New York established in the 2019 Climate Leadership and community Protection Act.
The resolution is asking the DEC to consider requiring the use of renewable energy in any future cryptocurrency operations.