The controversial Yates County cryptocurrency mining and power plant is about to finish installing wire screens to better protect surrounding Seneca Lake, days before the state’s deadline.
Greenidge Generation Holdings Inc. plans to complete the installation of cylindrical wedge wire screens at its facility to prevent fish mortality and offset its impact on Lake Seneca’s ecosystem by the middle of next week. The state’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEC) has extended the company’s deadline for this fall to Jan. 20.
“We’re a bunch of locals who really care about the lake. We’re not a bunch of computers, as people might call us,” said Dale Irwin, president of Greenwich Generation. . “Many of my teammates live there and enjoy living on the lake each summer and winter.After his 80 years of operation at this factory, he was delighted to be able to implement the best technology available to protect the lake. I am really excited.”
The facility draws more than 130 million gallons of water from the lake each day and discharges water into the body of water at approximately 108 degrees Fahrenheit. DEC says it kills fish, eggs and other aquatic life.
DEC originally allocated Greenidge five years to design, research, and complete the project. Greenidge did not apply for the required Section 15 permit and water quality certificate from DEC until March 18, 2022. The application was open for public comment until Sept. 1, and DEC issued his approval to complete the work on Sept. 27.
“DEC will subject all applications for environmental permits to a transparent and rigorous review process to protect public health and the environment,” said a DEC statement on Friday.
For years, proponents of improving protection of the lake’s aquatic life say shielding is inadequate, citing a DEC pilot study showing shielding to be about 77% effective. I’m here.
Yvonne Taylor, vice president of Seneca Lake Guardian, said, “It’s a way to save water in terms of collecting and discharging the heated water into the lake, which is partly responsible for the problem of harmful algae blooms.” “It’s a toxin for both humans and animals.”
Greenidge stresses that DEC has reviewed and approved the screening and process for several years, and the plant complies with state requirements.
DEC has reviewed and approved Greenidge’s Thermal Survey Standards Work Plan, which submitted the Thermal Standards Survey to the Department on August 31, 2022. DEC continues to review its investigation, according to the department.
“The installation of the wedge wire screen [best technology available]According to DEC on Friday, “a 0.5 mm slot width wedge wire screen with an intake velocity of less than 0.5 feet per second and a variable speed drive pump [the best technology available] at the Greenwich facility. DEC hopes that the combination of these techniques will minimize collisions and entrainment of fish, fry and eggs. DEC expects the savings to be similar to what the facility would have achieved had a closed-cycle cooling system been installed. “
Greenidge should report to the department how successful the upgrade is in minimizing the negative impact on the lake.
Greenidge president Irwin added that critics don’t understand the process because it required years of state research and evaluation.
“This requires years of research, engineering, prescribed procurement and procedures outlined by DEC. [U.S. Environmental Protection Agency] “When we received this permit five or six years ago, we knew it would take a full five years.”
Seneca Lake Guardian leaders plan to file a lawsuit against the power plant at the end of the month, citing insufficient data on the impact of wastewater on the lake and compliance with federal water regulations.Seneca Lake Guardian has filed 60 days’ notice of its intention to file a civil suit on November 17 with Earthjustice attorneys.
Complicating matters for the power plant is a recent report showing that Greenidge is owed millions of dollars in debt and may file for bankruptcy. A Greenwich spokesperson stressed Friday that the company would not have completed the screening if it had no intention of continuing operations.
Environmental advocates say they won’t stop fighting to shut down the factory entirely, regardless of the DEC-approved upgrades.
“They are in complete denial,” Taylor said. “I mean, it’s over. They need to shut down and our community needs to heal.”
Last June, DEC rejected Greenidge’s aviation license renewal application for greenhouse gas emissions that were not in line with the state’s climate emissions targets set by the Climate Leadership & Communities Protection Act of 2019.
Greenidge is allowed to appeal this decision and continue operations through ongoing public hearings.
A meeting on the Greenidge Generation LLC issue ended Wednesday, according to DEC. An Administrative Law Judge scheduled a hearing on January 13 on the provision of fact to which the Company, DEC staff, and petitioners will agree and sign.
The Greenidge brief is due on February 1st. DEC and petitioners must submit their response briefs by March 1st.
No further submissions will be permitted unless subsequently approved by an administrative law judge, according to DEC.
Member of Parliament Anna Keres is enthusiastic about DEC’s response and judicial decision expected later this year.
“It will certainly affect Greenwich’s ability to move forward, because if they don’t have flight clearance, they can’t keep moving forward,” said Keres, a Democrat for Ithaca. rice field.
Plants like Greenidge are exempt from the state’s two-year moratorium on proof-of-work cryptocurrency mining operations. DEC will evaluate cryptocurrency mining and perform a full environmental impact assessment of the industry over the next two years, including the state’s ability to meet the ambitious climate goals established in the Climate Leadership and Communities Protection Act of 2019.
This information will guide what legislators should do to regulate the industry and plants like Greenwich. Lawmakers said today they have not ruled out a larger ban within the industry within the state.
To date, DEC has not notified Greenidge of its potential inclusion in its research.