A Bitcoin mining company has come under fire for seeking approval to utilize tire-derived fuel to power its crypto mining operations in Nesquehoning, Pennsylvania. The contentious decision has set environmental advocacy groups and the company on opposing fronts, highlighting the ongoing tension between technological advancements and sustainability efforts.
Stronghold Digital Mining, a Pennsylvania-based cryptocurrency mining company, has ruffled feathers by filing an application with the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection to employ tire-sourced fuel for its Bitcoin mining data center.
While the company cites the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) endorsement of similar energy sources in other industrial settings, environmental groups remain skeptical of the environmental impact and the precedent it may set.
Envi Groups: No To Bitcoin Mining Company Permit
The Clean Air Council, a prominent non-profit organization dedicated to preserving air quality and public health, has issued a compelling call to action against Stronghold’s proposal.
Collaborating with environmental law organization Earthjustice and advocacy group PennFuture, the Clean Air Council demands that state regulators deny Stronghold’s permit request.
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— Clean Air Council (@CleanAirCouncil) August 28, 2023
Activists express concerns over the potential escalation of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide emissions, echoing past incidents where such emissions surged after Stronghold’s acquisition of the Panther Creek plant in 2021.
Charles McPhedran, an attorney from Earthjustice, emphasized the significance of the decision, citing the negative ramifications of Stronghold’s prior operations.
The company’s past use of coal to fuel its mining activities in Pennsylvania raised alarms about air pollution and environmental degradation, further intensifying the scrutiny on its current proposal.
Russell Zerbo, an advocate with the CAC, reinforced the organization’s stance by calling for a comprehensive review of the Panther Creek facility.
Zerbo suggested that since the energy produced by the plant is redirected towards Bitcoin mining instead of the grid, the facility should be re-evaluated as a potential contributor to heightened air pollution levels.
Stronghold’s Defense And Future Prospects
Stronghold Digital Mining responded to the mounting criticism, stating that the depiction presented by environmental groups is overly negative and not aligned with the company’s practices.
The company pointed out that it holds a temporary permit from the PDEP to utilize tire-derived fuel, highlighting several years of testing that supposedly revealed no adverse effects.
The ongoing debate underscores the intricate intersection between technological innovation and environmental conservation.
As Stronghold’s application navigates the regulatory process, the outcome of this conflict will undoubtedly hold implications for the broader conversation surrounding sustainable energy solutions in the crypto sector.
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