North Tonawanda, NY (WKBW) — Clean air and North Tonawanda residents advocates gathered Friday morning to voice their concerns about the Public Service Commission’s (PSC) decision.
The group’s protest in downtown Buffalo came a day after the PSC granted Digihost Technology the purchase of the Fortistar Gas Power Plant on Erie Avenue in North Tonawanda.
Digihost, a blockchain mining company, about a year ago Deborah Gondek, who lives in North Tonawanda, said her community has suffered as a result.
“I am deeply disappointed by the Public Service Commission’s decision to allow public utilities to be used for bitcoin mining,” Gondek said.
Gondek said plants are affecting her quality of life.
“Noise is the most obvious problem, but like I said, greenhouse gas emissions are the e-waste that is generated,” she added.
According to Mayor Austin Tyrek, the plant is not currently running at full capacity, but Bridge Rauch, environmental justice organizer for the Clean Air Coalition in western New York, said the new bitcoin mining plant will eventually be 24. He said it would work 365 days a year. A year to burn natural gas around the clock.
“That means tons of extra carbon emissions in the atmosphere, extra pollutants that harm public health,” Rauch said.
Now, the Union and its neighbors are joining forces to demand change. The group has also called on Gov. Kathy Hochul and state environmental protection agencies to intervene.
“We need regulators to step up boldly and be willing to fight for CLCPA and our communities, and for our climate as a whole,” Rauch said.
“Cryptocurrency mining is one of the 1,007 bills on my desk. We will have the opportunity to evaluate it in the coming weeks and months,” Ho-Chol said.
Anyway, this is a fight, and Gondek said it’s something she won’t give up.
“We’re here to raise awareness about this, not just for the state, but for the country,” she said.
7 News has reached out to Digihost Technology, but has yet to hear back.