Town of Torrey Pulls a Fast One on GREENIDGE Decision

SWITCHES DATE FROM ANNOUNCED 4/26 MEETING TO 4/19
Groups, Public must act quickly

Dresden, NY: According to reporters and citizens who attended the Town of Torrey Planning Board’s last meeting, the Board announced then that the site plan application for Greenidge facility’s fracked gas powered Bitcoin mining expansion would be discussed during a special meeting on April 26th. The fate of this project lies in their hands. Now, depending on how one searches the Town’s website, concerned citizens will either discover a notification that the Greenidge meeting is going to be held on a new date of April 19th, or there is no information at all. If citizens go to: townoftorrey.org, there is a box at the bottom of the home page which says clearly the Bitcoin meeting is going to be held on April 19th. However, if you simply google, "Town of Torrey," and click on the website link, https://townoftorrey.org/town_contact.php there is no change of meeting date displayed.

“As more information about the harmful impacts of burning extra fossil fuels to make fake money at Greenidge comes out, we have an even greater sense of urgency in convincing the Town of Torrey Planning Board to do the right thing”, said Yvonne Taylor, Vice President, Seneca Lake Guardian.

On April 6th, renowned environmental law firm Earthjustice and the Sierra Club Atlantic Chapter sent a letter to the Department of Environmental Conservation detailing Greenidge’s current and anticipated air emissions, and expressing concerns about their expansion to other NY power plants:

“To put Greenidge’s emissions growth into context, 2020 air emissions data obtained pursuant to the Freedom of Information Law reveal that, in just one year, CO2eq and NOx emissions from the facility increased ten-fold. Greenidge’s emissions of CO2eq went from 28,301 tons when bitcoin data mining first began at the facility in January 2020 to 243,103 tons in December 2020 and NOx emissions jumped from 5.2 to 49.2 tons in that same period. That is despite the fact that in 2020, the plant only operated at 13% of its capacity. Greenidge has proposed ramping operations up to 55 MW soon, which will result in boiler-alone emissions of 551,569 tons of CO2eq, per year. If left unchecked, Greenidge will reach 106 MW capacity shortly, which will cause emissions to skyrocket to 1,063,024 tons of CO2eq per year, or 165 percent of the existing permit limit.”

News of Greenidge’s merger and plans to expand to other undisclosed locations means further insults to the environment and a slap in the face to the state’s Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, which aims to reduce carbon emissions: https://waterfrontonline.blog/2021/03/22/nasdaq-market-goes-wild-over-greenidges-plan-to-go-public-expand-bitcoin-mining-25-fold/

“We all have a responsibility to do everything we can to reduce the burning of fossil fuels in order to pass on a livable planet to our children. Greenidge air emissions are already bad, and it wants to expand to other areas of the state. Seneca Lake is fragile and at a tipping point. According to the Finger Lakes Institute, temperatures at the north end of Seneca are rising every year. Because of its magnitude and depth, it takes 20 years for Seneca to turn over. If Greenidge’s permitted 134 million gallon daily hot water discharges push us over the top, it could take hundreds of years for the lake to recover. In the meantime, the drinking water for 100,000 people is lost. Expenses for municipalities to provide potable water skyrocket. The $3 Billion annual revenue and 58,000 jobs in the Agricultural and Tourism industry is threatened. People who have spent generations building their livelihoods that rely on the lake could have their legacies ripped out from under them. Property values will plummet and subsequently so will the tax base that supports local fire, police and schools. In fact, support for this short lived endeavor to enrich the few means that we have everything to lose by permitting Greenidge to expand. We need the Town of Torrey Planning Board to understand the weight of their decision and act to protect the region and our climate from Greenidge’s expansion by rejecting their site plan application,” said Taylor.

The Torrey Town Board has an opportunity to adopt a moratorium to review the ramifications of noise, air emissions and water discharge impacts at its regularly scheduled meeting Tuesday, April 13th. If it does not, the Town’s Planning Board will decide Greenidge’s and the rest of the region’s fate.

Seneca Lake Guardian is urging anyone who cares about Seneca Lake, the Finger Lakes, New York State, and the planet to speak out now. They’ve provided a list of things that concerned citizens and organizations can do - namely contact the Town of Torrey Planning Board and urge them to reject the site plan application for Greenidge before their new meeting date of April 19th.

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