A Pennsylvania House Representative has decided to eliminate a proposed two-year ban on crypto mining from a bill aimed at regulating the sector’s energy consumption.
In a Monday filing, the Pennsylvania House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee approved the Cryptocurrency Energy Conservation Act with a narrow margin of 13 votes in favor and 12 against.
The bill had remained stagnant since its introduction to the Committee on June 21.
Pressure From Democratic Party Leaders Prompts the Removal
Democratic Representative Greg Vitali, the Committee’s chair and the bill’s sponsor, said in a statement to local media outlet The Pennsylvania Capital-Star that he faced pressure from Democratic Party leaders to remove the moratorium from the bill.
Vitali attributed the influence to building trade labor unions, stating that they consistently opposed environmental policies and had significant sway over his Democratic colleagues.
“Frankly, [the unions have] the ear of House Democrats, and they have the ability to peel off members who would otherwise be supportive of good environmental policy.”
He expressed concern that going against the unions would risk the Democratic majority in Pennsylvania’s House, leading him to make the decision to pass the bill without the moratorium.
Vitali acknowledged that strong environmental policies faced limited support, as he learned during his first six months as the majority chair.
Despite his disappointment, he claimed that passing the bill without the ban was better than not passing it at all.
The proposed two-year ban would have halted the approval of new and renewed permits for operating crypto mining facilities.
Instead, the revised bill now requires an impact study on miner operations and imposes new reporting requirements.
Miners within the state must submit information on the number and size of their mining sites, energy sources, emissions reports, and energy and water consumption within six months.
Pennsylvania-based crypto miners will be obligated to submit these reports annually, while new miners to the state must do so prior to commencing operations.
Crypto Miners Are Seeking Alternative Energy Sources
The move to remove the ban comes at a time when crypto miners are actively seeking alternative energy sources to reduce costs.
Notably, Stronghold Digital Mining, a crypto mining company, has established operations in Pennsylvania and acquired two coal-burning power plants with the intention of utilizing plant waste to power hundreds of Bitcoin mining rigs.
The company had previously sought approval to burn shredded tires to generate up to 15% of its energy needs, a proposal that faced strong opposition from local environmental groups.
Additionally, TeraWulf, another Bitcoin mining firm, operates a nuclear-powered site in Pennsylvania.
As reported, the shift towards alternative energy sources appears to be a long-term trend among miners aiming for sustainable success.
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