New York Senate Passes Bitcoin Mining Moratorium

Nikhilesh De, Cheyenne Ligon

Fri, June 3, 2022, 8:32 AM

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The New York State Senate passed a bill targeting proof-of-work (PoW) mining early Friday morning in an effort to address some of the environmental concerns seen around cryptocurrencies.

The bill, which was passed by the state Assembly last month, would impose a two-year moratorium on any new PoW mining projects powered by carbon-based fuel in the Empire State, though existing mining firms or ones currently undergoing the permit renewal process would be allowed to continue operations. The Senate voted 36-27 in favor of the bill.

According to the bill’s Democratic sponsor, Sen. Kevin Parker, there is currently only one such plant in current operation, which would not be impacted by the bill. He added that there is one pending application, which may be put on hold until the study has concluded.

During the moratorium, the state will conduct a study on the potential environmental impacts of proof-of-work mining.

Many expected the bill to die in committee – the fate met by last year’s version of the bill – after the Senate Environmental Conservation Committee declined to consider the bill during its last meeting of the session. The committee’s chair, Sen. Todd Kaminsky, told CoinDesk in May that he was worried the bill could lead to “deleterious economic consequences for New York if people perceive it as being hostile to crypto.”

However, an eleventh hour referral of the bill from the Environmental Conservation Committee to the Senate Energy and Telecommunications Committee (which is chaired by the bill’s sponsor, Senator Parker) on Thursday evening meant that the bill was able to reach the full Senate floor for a vote mere hours before the close of the legislative session at midnight.

New York Governor Kathy Hochul still needs to sign the bill before it can become law.