Assemblymember Kelles Responds to Ruling Finding Greenidge Generation’s Air Permit Not Consistent with Climate Law in New York State

Ithaca, NY On September 26, 2023, Greenidge Generation's air permit was found to be inconsistent with New York State's climate law. This ruling from a New York State Administrative Law Judge is a significant victory for environmental advocates, and all New Yorkers. It is a key ruling ensuring New York state's commitment to reduce the release of greenhouse gasses (GHG) to 40% by 2030 and at least to 85% by 2050, based on 1990 levels.

The decision comes after an in-depth examination of Greenidge Generation's air permit renewal application. The judge's ruling stated that Greenidge Generation did not provide evidence to justify an air permit renewal.

New York State Assemblymember Anna Kelles, a long-time advocate and expert in environmental protection, expressed her satisfaction with the outcome. She stated, "This decision sends a powerful message to everyone that we must prioritize our commitment to environmental sustainability and climate action over harmful short-term economic gains for private and publicly traded industries. New York State has clear, ambitious goals to combat climate change, and we cannot afford to let any corporation operate in a manner that is inconsistent with those goals."

Over the years, Greenidge Generation's power plant has been a focal point of debate due to its environmental impact, on both GHG emissions and water quality. According to research by Earthjustice and the Sierra Club, Bitcoin mining is contributing to global warming at an alarming rate. Within the U.S, Bitcoin mining has used the equivalent amount of energy as four states combined, resulting in the emissions of 27.4 million tons of CO2, which is approximately the same amount produced as 6 million cars annually. In 2022, Governor Hochul signed Assemblymember Kelles’ bill A07389C into law, which places a two year moratorium on cryptocurrency mining operations that use proof-of-work authentication methods to validate blockchain transactions. The bill also requires the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation to perform a full environmental impact statement evaluating the effect of the cryptocurrency mining industry on our ability to reach NY air and water quality and climate goals.

Reacting to the news, Yvonne Taylor, Vice President of Seneca Lake Guardian said, "Once again, New York State confirmed that climate-killing Greenidge Generation goes against our nation-leading Climate Law. This is a huge win, but Greenidge is likely to take advantage of the appeals process and continue operating as long as it can. For more than two years, the people of New York have raised our voices and fought against Greenidge. But the operation is still accelerating climate change, harming our environment, and threatening the Finger Lakes' $3 billion, 60,000-employee local agriculture economy. We hope that Governor Hochul does everything possible to urge for a decisive and expedient process to shut this failing company down."

Mandy DeRoche, Deputy Managing Attorney in the Clean Energy Program at Earthjustice said, "This is a big win for the climate and New Yorkers. On issue after issue, the judge rejected Greenidge's arguments. Earthjustice and our clients welcome this Ruling, on behalf of the communities that live near this fossil power plant that mines cryptocurrency and that pollutes 24 hours a day, 365 days per year. We look forward to working quickly to resolve the few remaining issues in this case as expeditiously as possible.”