- New York state governor Kathy Hochul has signed a moratorium on using fossil fuels to power Bitcoin mining operations in the region
- Bill S6486 was first proposed by State Senator Kevin Parker in 2021
- The bill does not ban Bitcoin mining but prevents new miners from starting up and existing ones from expanding
New York state governor Kathy Hochul has signed a moratorium on using fossil fuels to power Bitcoin mining operations in the region. The bill, which aimed to examine the full impact of Bitcoin mining on the environment in the state, passed a Senate vote in June, but strong lobbying from crypto firms had led to suggestions that Hochul may not sign it. She did so yesterday, marking a two-year suspension of growth for crypto firms.
Bill Passed Within 18 Months of Proposal
Bill S6486 was first proposed by State Senator Kevin S. Parker, an environmentalist with a background in advancing legislation for protecting the environment, in May 2021. Parker proposed a “three-year moratorium on the operation of cryptocurrency mining centers in the state, including, but not limited to cryptocurrency mining centers located in converted fossil fuel power plants.”
The bill was tweaked in the months between its first vote, resulting in a two-year moratorium on proof-of-work mining and an agreement that all future endeavors be “subject to a full generic environmental impact statement review”.
Hochul Heralds “First of its Kind” Bill
The bill passed the committee stage in late April and then passed a full Assembly vote 95/52, leaving a senate vote as the last hurdle. It cleared this in June, paving the way for Hochul to sign it into law, which she did yesterday, saying that she was determined to balance innovation with climate change concerns:
I will ensure that New York continues to be the center of financial innovation, while also taking important steps to prioritize the protection of the environment. It is the first of its kind in the country and a key step for New York as we work to address the global climate crisis.
Bitcoin mining proponents have warned that the bill could backfire however, saying that it will not reduce the amount of emissions coming out of Bitcoin mining farms and will simply shift the practice to other states.