AVON — More than 100 people, and perhaps as many as 200, are expected to attend a rally this afternoon at the regional state Department of Conservation headquarters related to Greenidge Generation’s bitcoin mining operation near Seneca Lake in Yates County.
The rally is planned for 2-4 p.m. at DEC’s Region 8 site in Avon, Livingston County. It is organized by Seneca Lake Guardian and other environmental groups calling for the DEC — at the direction of Gov. Andrew Cuomo — to reject Greenidge’s air permit, which is up for renewal later this year.
“If the Title V air permit for Greenidge is approved, it not only sets a very bad precedent for other retiring or decommissioned power plants in New York as bitcoin developers seek to replicate the Greenidge model, but it also undermines Cuomo’s Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, aimed at making New York a climate leader by reducing greenhouse gas emissions,” said Joseph Campbell, president of Seneca Lake guardian, in a news release.
The rally comes about a month after the Torrey Planning Board approved the Greenidge expansion.
Opponents claim the company’s plan will have adverse impacts on the environment. Greenidge officials have refuted those claims, noting they are in compliance with existing air and water permits issued by the DEC.
“Over the past several months, Greenidge has respectfully responded to each false statement made — and then repeated — by the Seneca Lake Guardian. We have addressed the same arguments they lost in court, and watched them ignore the facts when we share them,” said Dale Irwin, president and CEO of Greenidge. “We have published our actual operational data in local newspapers, and presented our unique record of environmental and economic stewardship for New York. Despite these efforts, Seneca Lake Guardian’s continued disregard for facts — and continued disrespect for both the workers at Greenidge and the professional staff at the DEC — will surely continue at their next media event.”
“The community supports Greenidge, and isn’t listening anymore,” Irwin added. “They know the truth.”
Rally organizers said they will protest what they claim is the DEC’s inactivity when it comes to environmental concerns related to bitcoin mining at Greenidge and potentially other parts of the state. They claim the Greenidge facility is one of 30 upstate power plants that could be repurposed for cryptocurrency mining.
State Assembly member Anna Kelles, who has supported legislation for a moratorium on bitcoin mining in the state, is expected to attend the rally. Locally, Dresden property owner Abi Buddington, Vinny Aliperti of Billsboro Winery, Geneva city Councilor Ken Camera, and Seneca Falls Town Board member Steve Churchill are expected to attend.
The rally comes during a time of numerous ransomware attacks in the U.S by foreign hackers, with payment demanded in bitcoin.
“Every day bitcoin just keeps adding reasons as to why it should be banned,” said Yvonne Taylor from Seneca Lake Guardian and Gas Free Seneca. “From its climate busting, energy intensive polluting model to its involvement with cyber attacks, Gov. Cuomo needs to intervene before it becomes widespread in New York.”