FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Town Of Torrey Planning Board Votes To Approve Greenidge’s Buildout Of Bitcoin On Seneca Lake
Residents, Business Owners, Organizations All Shocked At Their Failure To CompleteFurther Studies Before Approval
Dresden, NY - Despite the Yates County Planning Board’s recommendation to reject the site plan application, the Town of Torrey Planning Board voted 4-1 to approve Greenidge’s Site Plan to increase the buildings that will house roughly 23,000 more Bitcoin machines along the shores of Seneca Lake.
In response to the decision, Town of Torrey property owner Abi Buddington said, “These community members were appointed to the Town Planning Board to carefully review all site plans to be sure all of the conditions in the Town of Torrey zoning laws have been met to protect our community. I am incredibly concerned that they decided to approve the Bitcoin expansion. This does not protect our community or environment in the least.” Buddington attended the meeting in person (even though she- and others- have repeatedly requested a virtual option for participating in accordance with an open government ruling that requires municipalities to provide virtual options for participation during a pandemic.)
Seneca Lake Guardian (SLG) submitted their own letter to the Town Planning Board, and also signed on to a joint letter with Committee to Preserve the Finger Lakes, Seneca Lake Pure Waters Association and the Sierra Club Atlantic Chapter in yet another effort to convey to the Planning Board the numerous negative impacts that must be evaluated prior to approving the site plan.
SLG’s letter pointed out the impacts on climate change and how the Planning Board’s decision would have consequences that reached far beyond Torrey’s borders, stating:
“The magnitude of your decision on Greenidge goes far beyond the Town of Torrey and the weight upon you is great. You have a responsibility to consider what the negative impacts of Greenidge’s buildout of Bitcoin could mean not just for the Town of Torrey, but for all of us who depend on Seneca Lake, for the people of the Finger Lakes who rely on the very heart of our region remaining a healthy, productive tourist and agricultural center, for the State of NY in its endeavor to lead on climate change, and for the very planet in the midst of climate crisis. We urge you to do everything in your power to reject Greenidge’s site plan operation on the grounds that the build out of their private Bitcoin operations has the potential for increased Co2 and NOx air emissions, increased noise, increased discharges of hot water into tributaries that flow into Seneca Lake, and increased withdrawal of water from the lake (regardless of whether they’re permitted by DEC or not) and that these ramifications would cause harm to the Town, the Finger Lakes region, and NY State’s CLCPA goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. At the very least, you are fully within your legal rights to reject the site plan unless and until further studies are completed by Greenidge and thoroughly evaluated by the Town and the public.”
The joint organizational letter stressed recently discovered information that revealed a list of toxic chemicals including Arsenic, Mercury and heavy metals like Nickel, Manganese, and Barium that are being discharged from Greenidge near residences and a campground, all of which use lake wells for their water.
The joint letter also shared with the Planning Board a statement released by the DEC on April 17th in an effort to convince the Planning Board to delay the site plan review of Bitcoin expansion until the new air permit can be reviewed and it could be determined whether air emissions will be affected by the expansion:
“The first part of DEC’s statement is a joke, as we know that they simply reissued the old coal plant’s permits to Greenidge with no environmental review and they’re giving Greenidge all kinds of slack on installing the mandated wedgewire screens to protect aquatic life from their intake pipe and to complete the thermal study which would determine the impact of Greenidge’s permitted discharge of up to 134 million gallons of hot water into the Keuka Outlet every day”, said Yvonne Taylor, Vice President of Seneca Lake Guardian. “The second half of DEC’s statement gives us some hope, but we’re still outraged that Governor Cuomo’s DEC isn’t doing a better job at getting in front of NY’s growing problem with Bitcoin and leaving it up to small towns like Torrey. Clearly the Town has become enamored and hoodwinked by Greenidge and is failing to comprehend the weight of their decision tonight on all of us who share the air and water. This sets a very bad precedent for other power plants considering Bitcoin in NY” added Taylor.
“We are saddened that the Planning Board refused to hire an independent noise consultant to look at the project again before it is built or to ask the Town Board for a moratorium to review the existing noise ordinance for industrial noise impacts on residential properties. But the worst part was the attitude of several of the Town representatives, scolding and dismissive of public concerns”, said Mary Anne Kowalski, President, Committee to Preserve the Finger Lakes.