North Tonawanda residents ask state leaders to end crypto-mining operation

NORTH TONAWANDA, N.Y. (WIVB) — Residents of North Tonawanda are calling on the New York State Department of Enviornmental Conservation (DEC) to do something about the Digihost crypto-mining plant.

On June 20, neighbors and advocates gathered for a press conference urging the DEC to deny the operation’s air permit renewal application and the two-year moratorium on crypto mining.

Digihost purchased the power plant on Erie Avenue from Fortistar and began using powerful computers to mine for crypto currency in 2022. Using all of this equipment requires a lot of energy and generates significant noise for the nearby residents.

Residents say they are frustrated as dealing with loud noises at all hours of the day from the plant has caused a disruption in their lives. Some residents say they barely spend time outside in their own backyards anymore because of the noise.

“There was always noise coming from them in the beginning,” said North Tonawanda resident Mark Polito. “Now, the noise has risen to a very loud and unbearable state.”

Neighbors frustrated with Bitcoin mine in North Tonawanda

Residents also say they had no idea the crypto-mining company was moving to their neighborhood until the summer of 2021.

“I hate it,” said a Sherwood Avenue resident. “People ask me why I moved here but I’ve lived here since I was 2. We didn’t know this was coming.”

Pollution is another major concern. Environmental activists explained that the company is creating large levels of greenhouse gas emissions every day.

“Digihost purchased this plant and instead of running 5 or 6 weeks a year, now they’re gearing up to run 52 weeks a year, 24/7,” said Deborah Gondek, Chair of the North Tonawanda Climate Smart Task Force. “Their own estimates are that they’re going to emit over 300,000 tons of greenhouse gas emissions every year.”

North Tonawanda Mayor Austin Tylec is proposing a 2-year moratorium on all similar developments in the city. Tylec says it doesn’t necessarily address the existing operation, but it’s a step in the right direction.

“It’s a piece that hits the breaks so we can look at our codes, look at our comprehensive plans that we’re working on,” said Mayor Tylec. “We can figure out how we can change different aspects of our government and our laws, so we don’t run into these issues again.”

The moratorium is scheduled to be up for a city council vote on July 16.

Tylec says it sounds like the moratorium is greatly supported by the council.

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Trina Catterson joined the News 4 team in 2024. She previously worked at WETM-TV in Elmira, a sister station of WIVB. See more of her work here.

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