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Cryptocurrency mining has been blamed for creating a huge electricity and energy crisis. According to some reports, by 2025 Bitcoin mining would require more energy than available on the planet. While these reports might be grossly exaggerated in most cases, the dramatic increase in energy demands is real for areas which have attracted mining operations due to favorable energy costs or colder weather. Large cryptocurrency operations are sure to leave a lasting impact on the surrounding region such as noise pollution, electronic waste, huge amounts of energy consumption in saturated areas.
The County of Missoula is trying to curb the impact of cryptocurrency in their area through regulation and positive environmental practices. County Commissioners Josh Slotnick and Dave Strohmaier of Missoula County, Montana, have introduced proposed regulations which require miners to use renewable energy sources for their operations.
The hopes of these regulations are to counter the adverse effects of crypto mining on the environment. A document was released on the County’s official website, stating the future plans of the County for cryptocurrency mining in the area. The document tells of the County’s plans to “[establish] locations where cryptocurrency mining operations may be sited in Missoula County and conditions that must be met in order to protect the public health, safety, morals, and general welfare of county residents.”
Furthermore, the document describes the options mining farms will have in terms of the areas where they can set up shop. The document also says that mining operations will only be located in light industrial or heavy industrial districts within Missoula County. The purpose for these conditions is said to stop crypto mining from creating noise pollution that negatively impacts nearby residents, businesses and wildlife.
The mining operations will also be required to prove that their electronic waste is being handled by a DEQ-licensed recycling firm. The document goes on to state:
“These facilities shall be required to develop or purchase sufficient new renewable energy to offset 100 percent of the electricity consumed by the cryptocurrency mining operation. To meet this condition, the cryptocurrency mining operation must be able to establish that their actions will introduce new renewable energy onto the electrical grid beyond what would have been developed otherwise.”
Talking about the mining operations already in place, the document specifies that any such mining operations which have been established before the draft becomes effective will be allowed to continue working as long as the operations remain legal otherwise. However, expansion of present pre-existing mining operations will not be allowed if they don’t conform to the newly implemented regulations.