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I’ve written a fair amount about the environmental impact of AI, but the Business & Human Rights Resource Centre reports that bitcoin mining company Stronghold Digital Mining Inc has now been sued for air and water pollution allegedly stemming from the power station the company runs for its mining operations. Save Carbon County – a nonprofit made up of people who live near the facility – claims

“the company’s bitcoin mine in northeastern Pennsylvania that burns waste coal and old tires for energy is polluting nearby communities with dangerous chemicals… The group said Stronghold has created a public and private nuisance by releasing mercury into waterways and spewing harmful chemicals like sulfur dioxide into the air from an aging power plant it bought to power its energy-thirsty operations… “

The company argues they “have cleaned up millions of tons of waste coal and reclaimed over 1,050 acres of once-blighted land, now sports fields, parks, and fishing spots for local communities.” Perhaps, but the power is certainly not renewable or low-carbon. Stronghold isn’t the only bitcoin miner that repurposed mothballed coal powered generating stations. I expect that similar lawsuits will follow at other crypto miners that operate old power plants that still run on fossil fuels.

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The Editor

Lawrence Heim has been practicing in the field of ESG management for almost 40 years. He began his career as a legal assistant in the Environmental Practice of Vinson & Elkins working for a partner who is nationally recognized and an adjunct professor of environmental law at the University of Texas Law School. He moved into technical environmental consulting with ENSR Consulting & Engineering at the height of environmental regulatory development, working across a range of disciplines. He was one… View Profile