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Bi-Partisan Opposition to Cryptomining among Seneca County Supervisors

In a rare and welcome piece of bi-partisanship, the Seneca County Board of Supervisors has unanimously expressed opposition to crypt-currency mining on Seneca Lake.  Kyle Barnhard (D-Lodi) teamed up with one of his Republican colleagues to explain why in this Op-ed, published June 23, 2022 in the Democrat and Chronicle.

Governor Hochul, protecting the Finger Lakes' environment isn't partisan | Opinion

Kyle Barnhart and Paul Kronenwetter

Special to the USA TODAY Network

It’s no secret that Seneca County, like many of the counties in the Finger Lakes, is mostly rural and conservative. Democrats feel underrepresented in county legislatures that lean heavily Republican, while Republican lawmakers feel ignored by a Democratically-controlled state Legislature and nearly 20 years of Democratic governors. Like the rest of the country, we’ve got plenty to argue about, mostly on partisan lines. But here in Seneca County, there’s one issue that always unites us —protecting our lakes, our watersheds, and our environment.

Earlier this month, the Seneca County Board of Supervisors, made up of 13 Republicans and one Democrat, including the two of us, unanimously voted to urge Gov. Kathy Hochul to put a moratorium on environmentally-destructive cryptomining and deny Greenidge Generation’s air permits. We’re all for promoting local business and job growth, but there comes a point where the exploitation of our natural resources goes too far.

Greenidge Generation is located just across the lake from us in Seneca County. It’s a fossil fuel power plant that is permitted to produce power for the public grid in emergency situations, when demand for electricity is particularly high. But instead, it’s producing power 24/7/365 in order to run its 20,000-strong fleet of Bitcoin mining machines. Greenidge is polluting our air with climate change-accelerating greenhouse gases that could make it impossible to meet New York’s emissions reductions goals. It’s also threatening the health of Seneca Lake, an extremely valuable resource that provides clean drinking water to hundreds of thousands. Greenidge offers no practical benefit to the residents of Seneca County. Its inconsistency with the character of our communities, on top of the harm it’s causing our natural resources, is a threat to our thriving agritourism industry. That industry brings in $3 billion annually and employs 60,000 people. Greenidge’s supposed 48 jobs are only a drop in the bucket.


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