Missoula County Extends Law Requiring Miners to Use 100% Renewable Energy

After a public hearing on Thursday, the Missoula County Board of Commissioners voted to further extend interim zoning regulations on cryptocurrency mining in the city for one year, according to a report shared on March 27. 

The regulation was initially adopted in April last year, in an effort to address the impacts of digital currency mining in the county, which mostly result in excessive energy consumption, noise, and electronic waste. 

No new changes were made to the regulations, except the extension, which will now see the rules last until April 3, 2021, instead of April 3, 2020. In the regulation, all cryptocurrency companies were urged to set up new sources of renewable energy to offset 100% of their energy demands.

Speaking in support of the regulation, Gary Matson of the Milltown area in Missoula said:

Just as coronavirus, it’s a prolonged consequence where if we don’t act immediately to lower our demand for electricity and introduce renewable electricity, our planet is going to be degraded tragically in the future.

The digital currency mining companies usually require a significant collection of servers that operates using large amounts of energy and may “continue to investigate this issue and this zoning and may ultimately propose it as permanent zoning,” according to Jennie Dixon of Community and Planning Services.

Crypto Mining Companies Consumes Huge Amount Energy

As reported, the county estimated that Hyperblock, a cryptocurrency company located in the Bonner mill industrial zone, consumes the same amount of electricity as one-third of all homes in the county.

A lawyer representing Hyperblock said that the company “is not in any way contributing to climate change” in the jurisdiction and that the commissioners’ ability to issue emergency regulations should not apply to climate change.

However, the “zoning is not aimed at any particular business but rather to get control of the crypto-mining industry energy consumption countywide,” Dixon said. Also, the regulation is not meant to bring about the suspension, rather, to meet the county’s resolution for 100% clean energy by 2030.

Meanwhile, the regulations do not include digital currency mines done before the introduction of the rule on April 4, 2019, as far as the existing structures are not expanded and mining operations are not extended in existing facilities.

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