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Localities Must Decide if a Crypto Mining Facility is Welcomed

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Localities Must Decide if a Crypto Mining Facility is Welcomed
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Arkansas State Representative Matt Duffield has written a letter to Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders to call a session to repeal the Arkansas Data Centers Act, local news media River Valley Now. Crypto mining activities in the United States are increasing, which is causing trouble to citizens in states like Kentucky, Wyoming, Texas, and more.

Misguided Language in the Bill

The letter urges Gov. Sanders to give power to “cities, towns, and counties” to decide if a crypto mine will be allowed to operate in their regions. The letter reads, “The new legislation should grant these localities some measure of control over the use of water and energy by crypto mines, the regulation of noise generated by these facilities, and the enforcement of local zoning laws.”

Recent studies shed light on extreme water and energy consumption from mining Bitcoin (BTC) largest cryptocurrency in the market. A study dubbed “Bitcoin’s growing water footprint” indicates the asset’s water footprint reached 1,600 gigalitres (GL) in 2021. Another research conducted by the United States asserts it consumes water equivalent to quench the thirst of 300 Million Sub-Saharan Africans.

In context to energy, Digiconomist’s Bitcoin Energy Consumption Index shows BTC uses 137 terawatts per h (TWh) of energy annually, which is equivalent to powering a nation like Ukraine. Additionally, it also highlights that one BTC transaction adds 431 kilograms of carbon dioxide to the air and 424 grams of electronic waste.

“The recent ruling of a federal judge on a local noise ordinance passed by the Arkansas County Quorum Court serves as proof of the misguided language in this bill,” states Rep. Duffield. “The judge ruled the ordinance discriminatory based on the language of Act 851, essentially stating that crypto miners can operate without regard for the quality of life of those living in any city, town, or county.”

One of the concerns in the letter states that crypto-mining operations produce noise of up to 95 decibels. While the sound frequency ranging between 70 to 85 decibels can be annoying to people, surpassing this limit could damage hearing. To avoid this, some crypto miners are choosing hydropower to cool down mining rigs. Yet again, water used for this purpose is reportedly fresh water.

Lone Star State Texas is a canary in crypto mines. The state is among the largest crypto-mining hubs globally. Riot Platforms, the biggest crypto-miner in the US, is developing a crypto mine with 1 GW of capacity. Some activists called out the development as environmentally unwholesome. They highlighted it may harm natural resources like water and land in Navarro County.

In October, Arkansas State Senator Bryan King too tried to take a matter associated with crypto mining to the governor’s office. He raised the question, “Whether it’s the governor’s office and these legislators up here, why are they protecting Chinese interests out there that are putting assets like this right next to our substations?”

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