New York locals accuse gas-fired mining operation of heating Seneca Lake

Residents are involved over the environmental impact of Greenidge’s gas-fired Bitcoin mining plant, declaring that the firm is heating the lake and should be killing marine life.

New York locals are accusing Greenidge Generation’s gas-fired Bitcoin mining plant of heating Seneca Lake in upstate NY.

On each day, the Greenidge plant is allowed to withdraw 139 million gallons of water from the lake and discharge 134 million gallons of water. The plant additionally has permission to discharge water with a temperature of up to 108 degrees Fahrenheit(F) within the winter, and up to 86F within the summer.

The residents of Dresden  showed worry over the rising temperatures of the lake. The sustainability of trout species that populate the lake could be a key concern for locals, with the fish thriving in temperatures between 52F and 64F, whereas levels over 75F are deadly for a few species. On July 5, native home-owner, Abi Buddington, told NBC:

“The lake is so warm you feel like you are in a hot tub.”

In April, Michael McKeon, a representative of Greenidge, denied that the firm had raised the temperature of Seneca Lake.

“We aren’t blasting heated water into the lake, that is not true. we’ve the foremost advanced technology and that we can still invest in the most advanced technology to safeguard the fish within the lake,” a spokesperson said.

On May 9, Greenidge showed info from its data center, showing that between March 1 and Apr 17 – an essential amount of the native trout spawning season, its daily discharge temperatures ranged between 47.6F and 54.6F.

A thermal study on Seneca Lake’s water temperatures is still pending , with an analysis presently slated to take place in 2023.

Since the beginning of June, Greenidge’s Bitcoin mining operations are carbon neutral, with the firm saying plans to buy carbon offsets as a part of its sustainability goals.

The plant, situated in Dresden, New York, is presently capable of drawing roughly 41 megawatts (MW) of power, with Greenidge getting to expand its capability to 85 MW by 2022.

Judith Enck, a former regional administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), is unconvinced by the firm’s actions, telling NBC:

“Carbon offsets aren’t a very effective way to reach greenhouse gas reduction goals. And there’s no system in place to manage it in New York.”

Atlas Holdings owned the Greenidge plant in 2014, changing it from a coal burner to a fossil fuel burner before reopening in 2017.

Local activist cluster, the Seneca Lake Guardian, describe the plant as burning fossil fuels “to make fake money in the midst of  climate change.”

Cointelegraph rumored on July 2 that Greenidge is getting to expand its crypto mining operations to South Carolina as early as this year. The firm plans to expand its crypto mining operations across multiple locations achieve  an operational capability of a minimum of 500MW by 2025.