Ephrata Initiates Yearlong Ban On Cryptocurrency Operations

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Ephrata City joins other U.S. cities like Plattsburgh, Salamanca, and Grant County by banning cryptocurrency operations. According to The Spokesman Review’s article published on October 19, 2018, the Ephrata City Council voted on Wednesday to ban any cryptocurrency developments over the next 12 months because of its impact on residents.

Ephrata Council Votes to Block Cryptocurrency Mining

The Spokesman-Review noted that during the City Council meeting, there was a 6-1 vote for the moratorium. Everyone voted to temporarily ban cryptocurrency mining operations, with council member Matt Moore voting against the moratorium. Bruce Reim, the Mayor of the city, did not attend the council meeting.

“A moratorium means taking a break,” said council member Kathleen Allstot. “This is a one year break…We wait to see what’s going, make sure this fits in Ephrata and the Grant County (Public Utility District) has figured out how to get power to it.”

One of the biggest concerns was the noise generated from the cryptocurrency mining. Donna Huesties, a resident with a home that overlooks a cryptocurrency operation mentioned to the City Council that the noise was very distracting and sounded like an ocean.

While she did try to pretend that the activities were an ocean, it quickly got old and became a nuisance. Gary Huesties, Donna’s husband also expressed his frustrations to the council. He stated that they were unable to enjoy their backyard during the summer, especially when the cryptocurrency mining operation had their industrial air conditioners turned on.

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Ephrata May Be Losing Out On Economic Opportunity

While cryptocurrency mining was a disturbance to residents, Moore was concerned that banning these operations could be a lost economic opportunity for the city. He mentioned that he doesn’t want the town to lose out if cryptocurrency mining is an economically booming business and Ephrata City was a great place to host these companies.

Ephrata is located in the Columbia Basin, a region that contains abundant and inexpensive electricity. Since cryptocurrency operations require a lot of computing power, cities located in the Columbia Basin are very popular for miners. Although some Grant Cities have implemented bans on cryptocurrency development or even increased the rate of electricity for cryptocurrency companies, council member Justin Kooy noted that the rising prices are even better than the national average.

Anna Franz, the City Attorney of Ephrata, pointed out that the moratorium also includes the need to reassess existing city codes used to govern cryptocurrency operations.

There are currently four cryptocurrency mining operations, two at the Port, one located in a city-zoned industrial are, and one in a residential area that is relocating. The moratorium, however, only blocks new operations from setting up in Ephrata. It does not affect the existing four cryptocurrency mining farms in the city.