Greenidge Generation Holdings Inc., once one of the largest public Bitcoin miners in the US, announced that it will install wire screens on its intake pipes in Seneca Lake. The firm is probably best known for “a long-running dispute with environmentalists over the impact of its operations on New York’s Seneca Lake, according to a Bloomberg report on Dec. 20, 2022.
However, It is the “latest miner to teeter on the edge of bankruptcy in the wake of the plunge in the value of the largest cryptocurrency.” The Bitcoin miner also warned that it may seek bankruptcy protection while entering into debt restructuring talks with lender New York Digital Investment Group.
Bitcoin Miner’s Extension
Greenidge announced on Dec. 27, 2022 that “the cylindrical wire wedge screens were recently lowered into Seneca Lake to be installed on the plant’s water intake system.” And this installation got the approval from the NYS Department of Conservation in late December, followed by federal approval in early October.
It must be noted that the Bitcoin miner reportedly has a deadline of January 20, 2023 to install the screens, as approved by the DEC. However the original deadline was Sept. 30, 2022, but later was extended by the DEC 2022.
On the other hand, this extension caused outrage from the Seneca Lake Guardians (SLG) environmental group after its announcement. The group called the DEC’s decision an “11th-hour bait and switch”. SLG pointed to concerns about marine life in Seneca Lake getting drawn into the plant’s intake pipe. And the high temperature at which the water is pumped back into the lake.
Over this concern of SLG, Greenidge said it met all deadlines from the DEC and followed proper procedure. Moreover the Bitcoin miner added that it took years of work, research, study, and paperwork to implement the screens. And all this prevented them from applying for authorization sooner, as the firm said.
Meanwhile, the Bitcoin miner also refuted SLG’s claims that water is pumped back into the lake at over 100 degrees.
The Official Statement
Greenidge Generation President, Dale Irwin said on Dec. 27, 2022 that “We have checked every single box required by State DEC and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, going through years of detailed study and testing, because this needs to be done right for the lake we all love. Water has been drawn from Seneca Lake into this facility for nearly 80 years, and now for the first time, thanks to a more than $6 million investment from Greenidge, wedge wire screen technology will be in place to add further protections for aquatic life.”