On March 26, the County Board of Commissioners in Missoula County Montana announced that it had voted to extend the interim crypto mining zoning regulations for a year. The existing regulations were set to expire on April 3. According to an official, they were still investigating the issue and the rules could one day become permanent.
While voting to extend the rules, the county made no alterations. They will be adopted as they are until April 3, 2021. These rules aim to address the impact of crypto mining. Some of the aspects of crypto mining that are regulated include electronic waste, noise generation, and power consumption.
During the creation of the rules, the county estimated that one firm called Hyperblock had been consuming as much power as that used by a third of all homes in the county. According to a county official, the rules were not aimed at any business. Rather, they were aimed at controlling the consumption of power by crypto miners.
What The Rules States
According to the official, the rules were supposed to help the county achieve its pledge to use 100% clean energy by 2030. The rules require that all new and expanding crypto miners buy or build a new source of green energy, which must offset 100% of their energy consumption. Besides that, their crypto operations will be restricted to industrial zoning districts.
The county voted to extend the rules after a public hearing held on March 26. Members of the public were allowed to call in and 47 comments were submitted in support of the extension. According to a Hyperblock lawyer who called in, the county’s ability to impose emergency regulation should not be applied to climate change. Besides that, the lawyer said that Hyperblock was not contributing to climate change in the county.
Parallels to Coronavirus
One commissioner, Matson, who responded to the lawyer’s comment, said that it was hard to contemplate the climate emergency since it was not happening immediately. He then compared the situation to the coronavirus outbreak. Thus, if the county did not act to lower the demand for power and introduce green energy, the planet would degrade in the future. He concluded that it was an emergency although it could not be perceived on an hourly basis, just like coronavirus.
According to the commissioner, crypto mining operations harm the environment due to the amount of power they consume. He noted that due to their huge demand for power, NorthWestern Energy was now proposing to create fossil fuel generators to fulfill the demand.
Dave Strohmaier, a commissioner at the county, agreed with Matson. He said that the reason why there was a delay in making the rules permanent is that they were planning to make changes to zoning regulations. The changes were planned for next year and since they were supposed to notify residents via mail, it would save costs by rolling out all regulations at once.
These rules do not affect crypto firms that existed before April 4, 2019. However, they may not expand their current operations.
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