Business

Dennis Wafula

Missoula county to regulate crypto mining

Missoula county, located in western Montana, wants to regulate cryptocurrency mining. In an official announcement on their website, details regulations on crypto mining discussed by the county commissioner.

In the announcement, the county gave two drafts, one for cryptocurrency Mining Regulations and the second covers Cryptocurrency Mining Zoning Overlay District Regulations.

The county wants to regulate cryptocurrency mining in an effort of reducing climate change. The new regulations will also enable businesses and individuals in the space to comply with zoning and noise regulations.

Reportedly, local cryptocurrency mining operations take as much as 33 percent of the energy required by all households in the county. Some mining operations located in Bonner, however, are using renewable energy from a hydro-electricity dam.

Despite these efforts, some officials believe that they are still indirectly contributing to greenhouse gas emissions. Missoula County energy conservation and sustainability coordinator, Diana Maneta explained that even though mining operations buy renewable energy, they still impact climate change by forcing previous customers to resort to other sources of energy.

She stated:

“When you buy existing renewable energy, you are displacing previous power customers, who are then using other sources. By doing so, you are then having an impact on climate change.”

The proposed regulations established locations where cryptocurrency mining operations may be sited. According to the proposed rules, the mining operations will be located only in light and heavy industrial districts. These regulations also give conditions that must be met to protect public safety, health, morals, and general welfare.

Mining operations also need to go through reviews as a conditional use in compliance with set laws. A DEQ-licensed electronic waste recycling firm will handle all electronic waste generated by the cryptocurrency mining operation. The mining operations will have to create or purchase sufficient new renewable energy to offset 100 percent of the electricity consumed by their operations.

The draft adds:

“To meet this condition, the cryptocurrency mining operation must be able to establish that their actions will introduce new renewable energy onto the electrical grid beyond what would have been developed otherwise.”

The drafted laws further stipulate that mining operations that are already operating in the county, which would not otherwise be allowed to operate under the new rules, may continue with their activities if they remain legal. However, these companies will not be allowed to expand or move if they fail to comply with the new regulations.

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