A county in Montana is currently trying to decide if it should impose a cryptocurrency mining ban.
Large cryptocurrency mining operations have targeted the Pacific Northwest for both its cool climate and its cheap electricity costs. These benefits are sought after by cryptocurrency miners since cool climates help keep computers from overheating, and low electricity costs allow for cheaper payment of the large electricity bill.
Recently, a county in the U.S. state of Montana has proposed a one-year ban on commercial and personal crypto mining, with many of the reasons for the ban coming from noise and environmental concerns. Residents of the county are also worried that the large electricity pull from the mining operation will lead to increased electricity costs. The county in Montana is called Missoula County, and it is home to two large crypto mining plants. These plants, like most large cryptocurrency mining operations, use many large, loud fans to keep their mining equipment from overheating. The noise can be heard from very far away, notes Missoulian county resident Joanne Weimer.
“The noise is bad,” Joanne Weimer told the Missoulian. “Some people are going to have to move. Our property values are going down.”
The issue and the proposed ban was discussed in a two-hour public hearing on Thursday. After two hours of presentations by both supporters and opponents of the ban, the commissioner of the Missoula County Commission decided that no decision was to be made at the time.
“We all understand that we don’t understand,” said Jean Curtiss, the commissioner of the Missoula County Commission. Other commissioners agreed and asked for time to do more research regarding the impacts of such a ban.
Missoula County is the second-most populous county in the seventh smallest state in the United States. Although the county’s decision on the matter may seem irrelevant to non-residents, it is important to realize that a decision here could set a precedent for future decisions. Bitcoin mining has proved to accompany an absurd ecological footprint and must seek eco-friendly alternatives to avoid further scrutiny. Fortunately, one of the mining plants has told the Missoula County Commision that its operation is powered from a renewable hydroelectric source, so Missoula County residents should not be worried about environmental impacts and increased electricity costs. The plant also noted that it would be upgrading its fans to be less noisy.
The decision on this matter has been delayed until at least August, according to the Missoula Current.