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Pennsylvania state has failed to protect its residents from a crypto mining rig’s carbon dioxide emissions, as a lawsuit filed by Save Carbon County accuses Stronghold Digital Mining. The company has been burning waste coal and tires to produce energy for its crypto mining operations, leading to significant environmental harm in northeastern Pennsylvania. The lawsuit names Pennsylvania state as a defendant for permitting crypto mines and violating citizens’ right to a clean environment. Stronghold Digital Mining has been emitting six million tons of carbon dioxide per year, prompting the environmental group to seek compensation for pollution and environmental damage.

Stronghold Digital Mining denies the accusations, stating that they have cleaned up millions of tons of waste coal and reclaimed over 1,050 acres of land for local communities. However, the company has received violations related to unpermitted air pollution and has resorted to burning tires to fuel its power generation mix. Burning tires creates harmful air pollution, including carcinogenic polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAH). Russell Zerbo from the Clean Air Council at Penn State emphasizes the harmful effects of burning tires and the lack of sustainable methods for crypto mining. Additionally, Lena Klaaßen from the Crypto Carbon Ratings Institute advocates for more transparency on energy sources used for Bitcoin mining and decarbonization of the industry in light of the climate crisis.

The lawsuit filed by Save Carbon County against Stronghold Digital Mining focuses on the company causing public nuisance, public liability, and negligence through their crypto mining operations. The environmental group seeks compensation for the environmental harms caused by the company’s activities, as they continue to emit large amounts of carbon dioxide without regulation. Stronghold’s acquisition of Panther Creek in 2021 has led to violations related to unpermitted air pollution and the burning of tires to fuel power generation, further exacerbating the environmental impact of their operations.

Pennsylvania state, as named in the lawsuit, is accused of failing to ban crypto mining or promote less energy-intensive methods like “proof of stake” verification. This marks the first time the state has been sued for violating citizens’ right to a clean environment by allowing crypto mines to operate without sufficient regulation. The environmental harm caused by Stronghold Digital Mining’s energy-intensive Bitcoin proof-of-work operations highlights the need for stricter environmental regulations and sustainable practices in the crypto mining industry to address the growing concerns of carbon emissions and pollution.

The spokesperson from Stronghold Digital Mining refutes the allegations, emphasizing the company’s efforts in cleaning up waste coal and reclaiming land for local communities. Despite their claims of environmental stewardship, the company has faced violations and criticism for their approach to power generation using harmful methods like burning tires. The lack of sustainable practices in crypto mining raises concerns about the industry’s impact on the environment and the need for greater transparency and accountability in energy sources and emission reductions. The ongoing legal battle between Save Carbon County and Stronghold Digital Mining underscores the broader challenges in balancing cryptocurrency operations with environmental conservation and public health concerns.

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