N.Y.(WENY)-- For the second year in a row, Assemblywoman Dr. Anna Kelles has been pushing for a moratorium on all proof of work Bitcoin Mining operations in New York State. 

Last year, Senate Bill S6486D, sponsored by Kevin S. Parker of the 21st senate district, was passed in the Senate but did not make it through the Assembly. For the year of 2022 Anna Kelles sponsored Senate Bill A7389C, which has passed through the Assembly and is currently working its way through the Senate but time is running out as a decision is expected to be made in coming days.

Kelles said the bill needs to go through the rules committee in the Senate, the next step would be for it to go to the floor where she expects there to be a debate and she believes one day is more than enough time for the bill to pass the Senate. 

“There is absolutely time, I have seen bills go through, from not having gone through the committee at all to having passed on the floor,” said Kelles. “That is exactly what happened to this bill last year,it was introduced and within 24 hours it went through all committees, went through a debate and passed.” 

If passed the moratorium would put a pause on all proof of work cryptocurrency mining in New York State while an environmental assessment is done but Kelles said she has noticed a bit of misunderstanding when it comes to her bill. 

“The thing that people don’t understand is yes, cryptocurrency moratorium is how people refer to this but in essence it is a power plant bill,” said Kelles. “ It is simply saying to the cryptocurrency mining industry that for two years, hands off our fossil fuel based power plants.”

If the bill passed Kelles said people would still be able to mine for cryptocurrency as long as the mining process does not use retired power plants; whether it be tying into the grid, having a boutique mining operation or running an environmentally friendly mining operation, these would all be legally allowed under the cryptocurrency moratorium. 

“I think it is incredibly important for people to understand that if we don’t get that moratorium then the trend that is happening in New York State, which is the purchase of retired power plants,” said Kelles.” Which by the way are the most inefficient power plants in the state… will be at risk of being purchased and turned back on 24/7 for cryptocurrency mining activities.” 

The bill would also have no effect on the cryptocurrency field as a whole. If passed, the bill would still allow New York residents to to buy, sell and trade cryptocurrency. 

Kelles said if the bill doesn't go through this term the next move would be to put pressure on the governor to do an executive order moratorium. She said during her talks with Gov. Hochul, she understood how energy intensive this industry is and that it will have an impact on our efforts to reach our climate goals. 

One of the main goals it would run counter to is The Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, which in part says that we need to get 100% of our energy from renewable resources by 2050. 

“If we are doubling, 150% of our state usage, 200% of our state usage that's going to increase the amount of our renewable energy infrastructure, the amount that were are investing in the state in order to not only get our existing demand onto renewable but this huge added energy consumption onto renewable.” 

Kelles said that some studies show both solar and wind would have to be increased by about 70% to meet the demands of the cryptocurrency mining industry, which would mean more farm land throughout the state of New York being taken up by solar fields; a problem that has already been expressed throughout the region. 

If passed, this bill would not put a stop to Greenidge Generations mining operation on Seneca Lake because it is not retroactive but Kelles said residents throughout the region are fighting to shut down Greenidge Generations operation. 

“However there is a call throughout this entire region, it is very strong, I have seen very few initiatives that have drawn this much attention, to pressure the governor and the DEC to not renew the air and water permits for Greenidge,” said Kelles.