Missoula County commissioners have instructed their staff to draw up interim zoning rules to regulate crypto mining in the region and limit its environmental impact. Miners must meet certain criteria in order to “mitigate the adverse impact of cryptocurrency mining”. This includes complying with zoning and noise regulations and discarding fossil fuel energy.
Officials have estimated that the mining operation at the Bonner HyperBlock centre consume as much as 33 percent of the energy required by all the county’s households.The electricity consumed by the 240,000 sq. ft facility is used to keep 13,000 servers busy.
Crypto Mining Is Of “Dubious Social Good”
State law allows for drawing up interim zoning on short notice if it’s able to cite an emergency, commissioners pointed to the company’s environmental impact as a “pressing emergency”.
“One-third of the county’s residential energy used in one factory that employs 19 people to do something that, as of right now, is of dubious social good, I just can’t see this continuing,” said Commissioner Josh Slotnick. “I would encourage interim zoning with an eye to renewable energy to permit cryptocurrency mining”.
Hyperledger Accused Of Greenhouse Gas Emissions, But They Use Hydroelectric Power
Diana Maneta, the county’s Energy Conservation and Sustainability Coordinator claims that the company’s use of energy contributes to greenhouse gas emissions. “When you buy existing renewable energy, essentially you are displacing previous customers, which are then using other sources. You are then having an impact on climate change,” she said.
However, Missoula’s main electricity provider is Northwestern Energy, which generates its energy from hydropower operations.
The regulations could come into force as soon as April and lead to permanent zoning and other regulations such as renewable energy mandates or a tax on electrical consumption.
County planner Jenny Dixon said that this isn’t about any one business, however, Hyperblock are the only industry of its kind in the county.
James Bowditch, an attorney with Boone Karlberg who represent HyperBlock urged the county to proceed with caution as Hyperblock have been careful to site themselves in a facility almost designed for something like this.
“The response should be somewhat measured and careful because I don’t want you to be picking on a company that’s a very responsible citizen of this community based on what may be occurring in other communities, most of which are outside this country,” he said.