New York state legislators have passed a bill to ban cryptomining data centers that use fossil fuel power plants.
But Senate Bill S6486D still has to be signed by Gov. Kathy Hochul, who has raised money from crypto companies.
The legislation would establish a two-year moratorium on new cryptocurrency mining operations that use proof-of-work authentication methods (such as Bitcoin and Ethereum), particularly those that use fossil fuel power plants. It would also block new or reopened plants for such purposes.
Proof-of-stake cryptomining, for currencies such as Solana, Cardano, and BNB, would not be banned.
Over the two years, an environmental impact study is set to be undertaken to see if such data centers would stop New York state from reaching its goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 85 percent by 2050.
It would also study water usage, impacts to health from reduced air quality, and the social and economic costs and benefits of cryptomining.
With the Democrat-led legislation having passed the Senate and Assembly, it now heads to Democratic Gov. Kathy Hochul.
Hochul's campaign has received $40,000 from the head of Coinmint, which runs a crypto data center at the site of a former aluminum plant in Massena, New York. She faces a primary election on June 28.
Her lieutenant governor and political ally, Antonio Delgado, has been aided in his campaign by a super PAC which spent $1m on ads in his favor in the last few weeks alone. It is backed by the founder of cryptocurrency exchange FTX.
With the upcoming election, Hochul will be eying keeping both deep-pocketed crypto backers and environmentalists on her side. The New York Times notes that she likely does not have to make a decision on the moratorium until December 31.
She previously said that she was “open-minded” about the moratorium, but equally did not want to stop jobs going to upstate communities.
In 2017, the upstate Greenidge Generation power plant was brought back online after closing down - purely so that it could mine Bitcoin. Last year, the company announced plans to expand its mining data center to up to 85MW.
Outside of the state, crypto has also helped resurrect coal-fired power plants.