Legislature hears from Greenidge
YATES COUNTY--Dale Irwin, president of Greenidge Generation Holdings, made a presentation for the Yates County Legislature Monday, Aug. 8. Irwin vowed that the cryptocurrency operation at Greenidge would continue unabated while it appeals a state decision to deny a Title V air permit renewal.
"We offered back in March, months before they denied the permit, to even go beyond what the state goals are," Irwin said. "A binding offer to the state in writing to reduce permitted emissions... the state never even addressed it."
Prior to the presentation, Irwin played pre-recorded messages of employees at Greenidge speaking about the state Department of Environmental Conservation decision and how it would negatively impact their lives if the cryptocurrency mining operations were shut down.
"Our story is best told by our employees and partners," Irwin stated.
Irwin also dedicated much of the presentation detailing what he said was incorrect media coverage.
"There are a lot of lies and misinformation," said Irwin referring to coverage about the facility's use of Seneca Lake water.
Although a permit held by Greenidge allows Seneca Lake water to be used in quantities up to 139,248,000 gallons per day and be returned to Seneca Lake through the Keuka Outlet at a high range between 86 and 108 degrees depending on the season, Irwin said on average the returned water is 9 degrees warmer than when it was taken in.
"We are in full compliance with every permit we have been granted," said Irwin.
After the presentation, members of the legislature asked how they could help. Irwin said that while he was appreciative and sure that the legislature's help would be useful, he wasn't sure how at the moment and wanted time to get back to them.
The DEC announced on June 30 in a 20-page document that the company's permit renewal did not demonstrate the required compliance with the state Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act.
"Rather than solely providing energy to the state's electricity grid, the power plant now primarily provides energy behind-the-meter to support the demands of Greenidge's energy-intensive proof of work cryptocurrency mining operations," the DEC statement on the denial read.
Also during the meeting, the legislature voted on two election-related items. The group unanimously supported designating Aug. 16 as Help America Vote in Yates County to bring awareness to the critical need of election inspectors and encourage those who can to participate.
Following the meeting, Robert Schwarting, Republican Commissioner for the Yates County Board of Elections, said that Help America Vote day is important to make sure upcoming elections are fully staffed.
"The November election will be a challenge to staff because the board will have to prepare for a major turnout," said Schwarting by email. "Congressional representatives and governor (elections) usually generate a lot of interest. To keep wait in lines short, the board deploys full staff and multiple check-in devices. New inspectors are invited to apply at the board of elections."
The legislature also unanimously supported a resolution opposing many of the recent statewide changes to election procedures. Resolution 314-22 is titled, "Proposing the repeal or amendment of election laws in so far as they adversely affect smaller counties." The resolution points out changes such as early voting, vote by mail and associated counting procedures are ineffective in our area. "The preponderance of data collected in the three years since early voting was started show that it is a financial, staffing and administrative burden on all counties where there are small, non-contentious elections and very small primaries," the resolution reads.