A Pause on Proof-of-Work: The New York State Executive Branch's Authority to Enact a Moratorium on the Permitting of Consolidated Proof-of-Work Cryptocurrency Mining Facilities
By Jacob Elkin,
As cryptocurrency mining facilities have expanded their energy consumption, certain fossil fuel power plants have increased energy generation to provide behind-the-meter power to cryptocurrency miners. The New York legislature has responded by proposing bills to enact a moratorium on state permitting of such consolidated facilities while the New York Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) studies their impacts through a Generic Environmental Impact Statement (GEIS), but these bills have stalled. This white paper analyzes the legal authority of the New York executive branch to put in place such a moratorium and concludes that the executive branch does possess such authority, though the paper notes that without legislative change, such a moratorium would be unlikely to reach cryptocurrency mining facilities receiving all of their power from the grid. This paper concludes by presenting policy considerations relevant to additional legislative action on proof-of-work mining operations.