New York State senators have walked back measures of a bill that initially called for a statewide ban on bitcoin mining for three years so that such operations could be subject to a full environmental impact review. The updated bill now would only apply to mining operations that utilize carbon-based energy sources, and is heading next to the State Assembly.
"The department," states the watered-down version of the bill, "shall not approve a new application for or issue a new permit pursuant to this article for an electric generating facility that utilizes a carbon-based fuel and that provides, in whole or in part, behind-the-meter electric energy consumed or utilized by a facility that uses proof-of-work authentication methods to validate blockchain transactions."
State senators also removed the three-year provision and limited the bill's scope to new operations and existing ones that are looking to increase their mining capacity. Additionally, senators also called for documentation on miners' environmental footprint across the state.
The bill is based on worries from some state-level legislators that increased carbon emissions from proof-of-work authentication such as bitcoin mining could hamper the state's efforts to cut down carbon emissions. Initially, however, the bill contained some factual inaccuracies. But with the updated bill, senators appear to have tacitly acknowledged that bitcoin mining can be green, as the regulation would now only apply to operations that specifically leverage carbon-emitting power sources.