On the Bitcoin front, we've been coordinating press conferences weekly to bring voice to our concerns that this energy-intensive industry, and the Greenidge facility along the shores of Seneca Lake, pose a threat to our clean air, water, and climate- all of which our thriving agri-tourism industry depends heavily on to support the 60,000 jobs and $3Billion/year it generates for the Finger Lakes. This pales in comparison to the 48 jobs Greenidge claims, with little to no benefit to the region.
We received an independent White Paper from Columbia Law's Sabin Center giving Governor Hochul a legal road map for how to use her executive authority to deny the Greenidge Permit and adopt a moratorium on this industry while we study its impacts on air, water, climate, the electrical grid and jobs.
We've been amplifying this message by getting local , state and national media attention on the issue on a daily basis. We're partnering with the top environmental watchdog groups and labor unions including the Sierra Club, Food and Water Watch, Earthjustice, NRDC, NYPIRG, Greenpeace, Environmental Working Group, 1199 SEIU and more to help educate and inform, and put more pressure on Governor Hochul to help her understand that this issue impacts all New Yorkers and could set a precedent for other underutilized or decommissioned power plants across our state.
We've collaborated with scientists, elected representatives, and researchers to convey that Greenidge-like plants don't comply with New York's bold climate laws. On April 13th, Cornell professors Robert Howarth (also a member of New York's Climate Action Council) and Anthony Ingraffea joined Plattsburgh Professor Colin Read and Senator Rachel May to urge Governor Hochul to follow the science and deny Greenidge's permit.
We traveled to Albany and were joined by dozens of other environmental organizations, labor groups and elected officials prior to the looming deadline on Greenidge’s Title V air permit and held a press conference in the War Room at the capitol, urging Hochul to make the right decision.
But alas, she instead chose to kick the can down the road until, ironically, two days after the Gubernatorial primary.
We traveled back to Albany for the Climate Can't Wait rally on Earth Day, where SLG's own Abi Buddington gave a rousing speech on the steps of the Governor's mansion, stressing the environmental harm to our community and asking the Governor to adopt a moratorium before more New York communities are impacted.
We've put even more pressure on Governor Hochul to make a swift decision on Greenidge by pairing up with two Cornell researchers who analyzed the 4,000 comments that were submitted to DEC on Greenidge's Title V Air Permit Renewal, and determined that 98.8% of those comments urged a denial of the permit, and that the comments were from ALL OVER New York State.
And during Spring Break from her day job, Yvonne and I traveled to other states where crypto mining facilities are creeping in under the radar and we met with folks who shared stories similar to ours and we offered our support in an effort to build a national coalition of impacted communities and work on federal regulation.
On April 26th, the New York State Assembly passed a bill that would place a moratorium on permitting fossil fuel burning power plants to mine Bitcoin while a study on its air, water, and climate impacts is completed over the next two years. It now has to pass the Senate and be signed by Governor Hochul into law. Sadly, this does not have any impact on the Greenidge facility, but it is a step in the right direction in an effort to protect other New York communities from this relatively new, little understood industry that our state just so happens to be the biggest host to in all of the US.
We're also in the beginning stages of waging an aggressive campaign against the Seneca Meadows Landfill (SMI). This mountain of trash, located at the northern gateway to the Finger Lakes and a mere 3 miles from schools and the Women's Rights National Historic Park, was slated to close in 2025. The largest landfill in New York, accepting 6,000 daily tons of garbage from 47 countries, 5 states and Canada generates 100,000 gallons of PFAS-laden leachate a day. Rather than agreeing to the closure date, Seneca Meadow's parent company funded two pro-landfill candidates who were elected to the Town Board to repeal the local law and SMI has applied to DEC for a 70-foot-high expansion with extended operation through 2040. Seneca Lake Guardian intends to work diligently to ensure that the landfill in fact closes when it is supposed to. We began by sending a letter signed by 1,000 regional businesses groups and individuals to Governor Hochul, and held a press conference with the landfill in the background urging for this planned closure. Stay tuned for much, much more on this.
On the PFAS front, Seneca Lake Guardian is very concerned about the impact of this forever chemical on our waterways and our health. We're working with Waterkeeper to train and perform some water testing in the near future. And we've submitted comments to the DEC about a long-overdue complete analysis of the Ithaca Area Wastewater Treatment Facility’s discharge permit into Cayuga Lake- and, to our surprise, DEC has committed to completing this review. We’re partnering with other organizations to ensure the strictest of laws on PFAS are enforced in New York.
We've got much, much more up our sleeves, but wanted to catch our breath and share with you some of the highlights. As always, our passion, connection and commitment to the Finger Lakes continue to guide our work, and we're prouder than ever to be a part of this community. If you’d like to support the work we’re doing, we’d really appreciate it. You can donate online or, if you prefer, checks made out to Seneca Lake Guardian can be sent to PO Box 333, Watkins Glen, New York 14891
We hope you and yours are enjoying springtime and we hope to see you out and about as the weather warms.
Joseph M Campbell-President
Seneca Lake Guardian