ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10)–Governor Kathy Hochul has signed legislation that places a two-year moratorium on certain types of cryptocurrency mining in New York State.

Proof-of-work cryptocurrency is work done by mega computers referred to as miners. Liz Moran, New York Policy Advocate for Earth Justice explained how it works.

“Mega computers are running 24/7 to compete against one another to solve complex algorithms,” said Moran. ‘Whatever computer has solved the algorithm has done the work, so to speak, and they get to win the currency. That’s ultimately why proof-of-work crypto mining is so energy consumptive.”

It’s that energy that has environmental advocates concerned. This type of mining uses a lot of electricity powered by carbon-based fuel. Senator Rachel May, who represents parts of the Finger Lakes Region, said this type of mining can impact the environment.

“There are hundreds and hundreds of small businesses that wrote in opposition to cryptocurrency mining efforts on Seneca Lake because it takes so much water and returns it to the lake warmer, which makes it more likely to have harmful algal blooms, it kills the trout that spawn there, and it has a potential of harming things like the wine growing industry,” said May.

One of the crypto-mining facilities along Seneca Lake, Greenidge Generation Communications in Dresden, N.Y., made a statement following the new law saying they will not be impacted.

“The law plainly states, and the original sponsor has confirmed, it will not apply to Greenidge’s operations,” the company said.

Greenidge said its renewal applicated was filed in March of 2021, being deemed complete by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation in September 2021.

Despite Greenidge not being impacted by the law, advocacy groups are calling for its closure.

The Seneca Lake Guardians have called upon Governor Hochul to have the facility shut down.

“Unfortunately, there are existing crypto miners in New York’s fossil fuel plants, heating up our atmosphere and poisoning our lakes that aren’t affected by this new law,” said Yvonne Taylor, Vice President of Seneca Lake Guardians. “Governor Hochul can finish the job now by shutting down Greenidge Generations to protect the Finger Lakes,” they said.

According to a memo from the Executive Chamber, the state will still allow permits for electric energy facilities that use alternatives such as hydropower. It will also require the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation to issue an environmental impact statement review.

However, not everyone is happy about the new law.

The Business Council released a statement that said, “The Business Council does not believe the legislature should seek to categorically limit the growth and expansion of any business or sector in New York. We plan to further engage and help educate them regarding this industry and the benefits it provides to the local, regional, and state economy.”