The New York State Assembly passed a bill late on Tuesday that would place a two-year ban on all new proof-of-work (PoW) cryptocurrency mining facilities in the state that use a carbon-based fuel to power their operations.
The bill, sponsored by Anna Kelles, would not only impose a two-year hold on approval of any new Bitcoin mines, but the proposed moratorium would also prevent the renewal of permits issued to existing PoW cryptocurrency miners using carbon sourced energy if they seek to increase the amount of electricity consumed.
The bill gathered the support it needed to pass, with 95 in favor and 52 against, and will now be carried by Senator Kevin Parker for a vote in the State Senate. If successful, it will then be delivered to Governor Kathy Hochul, who can veto the bill or sign it into law.
The Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) would be tasked by the bill with preparing a “generic environmental impact statement” to number, locate and assess the energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions of PoW miners and their impact on public health.
Cryptocurrency industry advocacy group the Blockchain Association had previously called on “pro-tech, pro-innovation, pro-crypto” residents of New York to mount an opposition to the bill, which they claim resulted in thousands of messages to legislators.
The association said that around three hours of debate took place over the bill, demonstrating what they believe is a “greater opposition to the mining ban than proponents believed.” In a tweet on Wednesday, the team said it will direct its energy to the New York Senate to defeat what it calls the “anti-technology bill.”
Proposed bans on proof-of-work cryptocurrencies on environmental grounds are becoming more common. A similar proposal called the Markets in Crypto Assets (MiCA) bill was narrowly defeated in the European Parliament in late March, with legislators there even considering a ban on Bitcoin trading to enforce the proposed ban on mining.