On December 2, Senator Elizabeth Warren wrote to the CEO of Greenidge Generation Holdings, asking about the environmental impact of its bitcoin mining operations in upstate New York and elsewhere.
“I seek information on Greenidge’s operations and the resulting impacts on the environment and local communities,” said Warren’s letter, highlighting that the firm is “serving as a model for other companies seeking to acquire aging fossil fuel plants for the purposes of making the energy generation profitable, a trend that is likely to accelerate after China’s crackdown on cryptomining.”
As bitcoin mining operations expanded throughout the U.S. earlier this year, Greenidge announced that it was buying carbon offsets for its emissions in May. The firm advertises itself as “the first and only vertically integrated power generator and bitcoin miner of scale in the United States that is 100% carbon neutral.”
In a statement to The Block, representatives for Greenidge said:
“We look forward to providing a detailed response to the Senator’s questions, sharing how the facility meets all of New York’s nation-leading environmental standards, is bringing economic opportunity to an underserved area of the state, and is a model for crypto mining with widespread local support.”
Representatives for Senator Warren had not responded to a request for comment as of press time.
Warren has been notably hostile to cryptocurrency mining for years. As mining operations in the United States have picked up over the course of 2021, she has become more vocal in her suspicion of the industry, but she is not the only one.
Greenidge has been at the center of a particularly contentious debate, as it is the most conspicuous operation to reboot one of a number of power plants in upstate New York that earlier state emissions controls had shut down except in the event of power shortages.
Prior to Greenidge’s announcement of its carbon-offset program, New York Assemblymember Anna Kelles introduced a bill to shut down commercial bitcoin mining in the state for three years. A push from a union of electrical workers ultimately stopped that bill from passing into law.