Fight for the Future statement on proposed NY fossil fuel mining moratorium

Posted May 26, 2022, 7:49 PM

The following statement can be attributed to Lia Holland (she/they), Campaigns & Communications Director at Fight for the Future.

As a matter of principle, Fight for the Future supports policies that reduce carbon emissions and hold corporations accountable for polluting our environment. And, as fierce defenders of the right to code and the importance of creating people-powered, decentralized alternatives to Big Tech, we have organized major resistance to several ham-handed attempts to regulate cryptocurrencies. For example, we drove over 40,000 calls to the Senate to oppose 2021 bipartisan infrastructure package provisions that are a disaster for digital privacy, and have vigorously spoken out against sanctions legislation that threatens open source software projects and the individuals who use or contribute to them.

And thus, we were skeptical when we heard that New York state was seeking to pass a moratorium on proof of work cryptocurrency mining. Yet upon review of this bill, A.7389C / S.6486D, and its impacts, we would like to offer our endorsement. 

This bill places a 2 year moratorium on bringing new fossil fuel sources online specifically to mine cryptocurrencies that rely upon a proof-of-work consensus mechanism. It is a targeted and measured approach to dealing with a dangerous and dire externality of an emerging technology with planetary ambitions. We applaud these legislators for focusing narrowly and signaling willingness to learn and reconsider should new data come to light from the study of the impacts the bill also calls for. We hope many other lawmakers will follow suit to ensure that this practice is not simply shifted to other states.

In the midst of our climate crisis, lawmakers should be extremely concerned by any practice that brings old fossil fuel plants back online, or further entrenches fossil fuel infrastructure of any kind—and take action to prevent new emissions sources. Our hope is that the environmental impacts of crypto will drive greater restrictions on the use of fossil fuels from all industries, and never on the rights of people to build or use open source software projects and emerging technologies, including cryptocurrencies and digital assets. Ban fossil fuels, not software projects.