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Pennsylvania State, Crypto Miner Sued for Polluting Environment

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Pennsylvania State, Crypto Miner Sued for Polluting Environment

Pennsylvania state has failed to protect its residents from a crypto mining rig’s carbon dioxide emission, a court filing read.

On Tuesday, a Pennsylvania environmental NGO – Save Carbon County – filed a lawsuit in a state court, accusing Stronghold Digital Mining. The company has been reportedly burning waste coal and tiers to produce energy for its crypto mining operations.

Per the complaint, the Stronghold mining located in northeastern Pennsylvania has caused enough environmental harm by performing energy-intensive Bitcoin proof-of-work.”

The lawsuit also mentions Pennsylvania state as a defendant, a Reuters report noted.

It marks the first time the state has been sued for violating the constitutional provision guaranteeing citizens a right to a clean environment by permitting crypto mines, Aaron Freiwald, the NGO’s attorney said Tuesday.

Stronghold Digital Mining has been purportedly emitting six million tons of carbon dioxide per year. The environmental group stated that despite this, Pennsylvania has failed to ban crypto mining or advocate less energy-intense methods like “proof of stake” verification.

Save Carbon County hit Stronghold claiming that the company caused public nuisance, public liability and negligence. The group is seeking compensation from the company for engaging in crypto mining-related pollution and for environmental harms already caused.

Denying the accusations, a spokesperson from Stronghold noted that the company is alternatively cleaning-up land and water in the locality.

“Stronghold’s facilities 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.”

From Burning Tires to Greener Ways

In 2021, Stronghold Digital Mining Inc. acquired Panther Creek to generate cryptocurrency. Until now, the plant has received at least seven violations related to unpermitted air pollution under Department of Environmental Protection.

Apart from transporting coal waste from several sites, Stronghold has turned to burning tires to fuel its power generation mix.

Russell Zerbo, the federal advocacy coordinator at the Clean Air Council at Penn State, told Cryptonews that burning tires create an abundance of harmful air pollution.

“Burning tires would increase polyaromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) pollution from the Panther Creek plant in Nesquehoning, PA. PAH pollution includes many carcinogens.”

Additionally, Zerbo noted that there are no precautionary methods that one can take to perform sustainable mining.

“Crypto mining is a complete waste of electricity, there are no sustainable ways to do it.”

Further, according to Lena Klaaßen, co-founder of the Crypto Carbon Ratings Institute (CCRI), there should be more transparency on the energy sources used for Bitcoin mining.

She told Cryptonews that entities that hold Bitcoins to perform on-chain transactions are responsible for Bitcoin-related emissions as part of their scope 3 (value chain) emissions.

“Energy usage is inherent to the Proof of Work consensus mechanism on which Bitcoin is based. In light of the imminent climate crisis, the priority should be on the decarbonization of the industry.”