Per the report, the Missoula County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously to impose new rules for local cryptocurrency mining operations. As Cointelegraph reported last month, when the regulation was first proposed, the draft of the rules stated that they aim “to protect the public health, safety, morals, and general welfare of county residents.”
The focus of the new law is seemingly on the possible effects of cryptocurrency mining on global warming and electronic waste. Also, from now on, crypto miners in the county will be able to establish their operations only in light industrial and heavy industrial districts and only after they have been reviewed and approved as a conditional use.
Miners will also need to provide certification that all electronic waste generated will be handled by a Department of Environmental Quality-licensed recycling firm. Another new rule established in the county requires miners to use exclusively renewable energy.
Lastly, preexisting mining operations that aren’t compliant will be allowed to continue but won’t be authorized for expansion if they don’t conform with the new regulations. The draft specified that the rules will be effective as of April 4, 2019 and until April 3, 2020.
The Missoulian notes that the county’s staff claim mining company Hyperblock currently uses as much electricity as one-third of all homes in the county and plans to triple its power usage.
Hyperblock reportedly purchases hydroelectric power to fuel its endeavors, but the commissioners reportedly argued that it displaces other potential renewable energy buyers. County commissioner Dave Strohmaier purportedly commented:
“Near as I can tell cryptocurrency is using exponentially more energy; it’s a grotesque amount of energy and we’ve got to take steps to address it. […] We’ve got to utilize new renewables if we’re going to address climate change.”
Hyperblock manager Dan Stivers defends the company by stating that it has always used only renewable energy and that it could have used electricity obtained by burning coal since it was cheaper. Stivers also claims that Hyperblock uses a licensed recycler to deal with its electronic waste, adding:
“Somehow none of that’s enough. It is a viable business model and if we had not moved in as anchor tenants, there would be no Bonner mill as we see it today.”
According to the Missoulian, a lawyer for the company hinted that it may file a lawsuit over the regulation in the future.