Plattsburgh, the small upstate New York town, has placed a temporary halt on cryptocurrency mining in an effort to preserve natural resources, the health of the residents of the town and the so-called “character and direction” of the small city.
Bloomberg, citing Plattsburgh, reported residents of the town on the Canadian border are fed up with all the cryptocurrency activity going on and resorted to the measure to reign some of it in. “It is the purpose of this Local Law to facilitate the adoption of land use and zoning and/or municipal lighting department regulations to protect and enhance the City’s natural, historic, cultural and electrical resources,” Plattsburgh said after holding a public hearing on the matter last week, according to Bloomberg. Bloomberg reported that for 18 months the city won’t consider any new applications for commercial cryptocurrency mining. For breaking the rules, a perpetrator will owe Plattsburgh up to $1,000 a day for each day that the moratorium is violated. Plattsburgh gets power from the St. Lawrence River for cheap, which keeps electricity costs low for residents. But because of bitcoin mining, it has already exceeded the allotted amount of hydropower in December and January, reported Bloomberg, citing a local newspaper. Some residents have complained that their electricity bills have increased by as much as $300, noted the report. The city council said it needs the 18 months to consider zoning laws and lighting regulations. Without doing that, it said cryptocurrency mining could result in “irreversible change to the character and direction of the city.”
With cryptocurrency mining all the rage, the city of Plattsburgh hasn’t been the only one dealing with the tax on electricity supplies. In early January Hydro Québec, the largest utility in Canada, said it was being forced to review its energy strategy amid the surging demand caused by the mining of digital currencies. According to a report in Reuters at the time, Hydro Québec’s spokesman said that it wouldn’t have enough long-term capacity to meet the expected demand, given the fact that potential mining projects were then at 70, more than doubling in one week alone. The energy company expected to have an energy surplus equal to 100 terawatt hours during the course of the next decade. One terawatt hour can power 60,000 homes in Québec for a year. Bitcoin mining of digital tokens requires a significant amount of computing processing, which in turn requires a large amount of energy. With China cracking down on cryptocurrencies and cryptocurrency mining, many bitcoin mining operations are now looking for sites in Québec, which is rich in energy.