Pennsylvania Drops Proposed Cryptocurrency Mining Ban in Favor of Reporting Requirements
Pennsylvania’s bid to impose a cryptocurrency mining ban has been scrapped from a legislative bill that seeks to regulate the energy consumption of the industry.
The surprising reversal came following mounting pressure from trade labor unions and concerns over its potential impact on Democratic Party support.
Instead of an outright ban, the bill has been amended to impose continuous reporting obligations on cryptocurrency miners operating within the state.
Intense Pressure Forces Reevaluation
The breakthrough occurred when the Pennsylvania House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee narrowly passed the “Cryptocurrency Energy Conservation Act” after months of legislative stagnation.
The vote tally stood at 13 in favor and 12 against, ending the bill’s prolonged stay in the committee since its initial introduction on June 21.
The bill’s sponsor, Democratic Representative Greg Vitali, who also chairs the committee, attributed the removal of the proposed two-year cryptocurrency mining ban to mounting pressure from trade labor unions and Democratic Party leaders.
Vitali indicated that the building trade labor unions had a long-standing record of opposing environmental policies and wielded considerable influence over his fellow Democratic lawmakers.
“Frankly, [the unions have] the ear of House Democrats, and they can peel off members who would otherwise be supportive of good environmental policy,” Vitali explained, highlighting the substantial sway these unions held within Pennsylvania’s House Democratic majority.
Vitali emphasized that challenging the unions’ interests could endanger the Democratic majority in the state’s House, making it more sensible to pass the bill without the mining ban than to risk its failure. He noted that his prior experience as the majority chair had shown that robust environmental policies often garnered limited support.
Revised Bill Imposes Reporting Requirements
The originally proposed two-year ban would have put a halt to the issuance of new and renewed permits for cryptocurrency mining facilities in Pennsylvania. However, in the wake of the ban’s removal, the bill has been reworked to encompass an impact study on mining operations and introduce new reporting requirements.
Under the revised legislation, cryptocurrency miners operating within the state will be required to submit an array of information within a six-month timeframe. This data will encompass details such as the number and size of mining sites, specifics about energy sources, emissions reports, and statistics on energy and water consumption.
Pennsylvania-based cryptocurrency miners will need to furnish these reports annually, with new entrants into the state being obligated to provide the same information prior to commencing operations.
Stronghold Digital Mining’s Ambitions in Pennsylvania
The decision to abandon the two-year cryptocurrency mining ban carries substantial ramifications for Pennsylvania’s burgeoning cryptocurrency mining sector.
Stronghold Digital Mining, a cryptocurrency mining company, had recently established operations in the state, which ranks as the third-largest coal-producing state in the United States. The firm had acquired two coal-burning power plants with the intention of utilizing plant waste to power hundreds of Bitcoin mining rigs.