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North Tonawanda council votes down blockchain mining moratorium

Posted at 12:39 AM, Aug 18, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-18 00:39:24-04

NORTH TONAWANDA, N.Y. (WKBW) — Digihost, a blockchain mining company, is in the process of using a rarely used smaller power plant, in North Tonawanda, to energize their operation. Outside of the plant, will be over a dozen shipping containers. Inside those containers are servers to mine the blockchain.

For the people who live across the street from the Fortistar power plant, shipping containers are the last thing they want to see.

“That's my living room window, “said Paul Hoover. “It’s already an eyesore as it is.”

Digihost says they're going to plant trees and paint the storage containers.

“We want to be good neighbors and part of that is looking good for the neighborhood,” said Nick Williams, in-house council for Digihost.

It's not just aesthetics some of the people of North Tonawanda want addressed. Tuesday night, a common council meeting allowed Digihost to explain what they're doing and answer questions. The council was weighing whether or not to impose a three-month moratorium on any blockchain projects in the city. The moratorium was voted down.

“I think we now have more questions that need to be addressed,” said Deborah Gondek, she came to the meeting hoping to learn more about the emissions coming from the plant, once it’s up and running at 100% capacity.

“We're going to, from day one, start slashing the carbon emissions. We're going to start with a biomass energy alternative called “maneuverable natural gas,” it's also called “farm gas.” We're going to use that to slash emissions day one because it requires no infrastructure upgrade after that. The goal is to bring in green hydrogen, to find other hydro-power sources, to find solar sources, wind sources that can replace the 60 megawatts that are currently there,” said Williams.