Montana's Missoula County may place restrictions on crypto mining

21 Mar, 2019 | Updated: 21 Mar, 2019
by David Robb
Montana's Missoula County may place restrictions on crypto mining

The local government of Missoula County is currently considering legislation on cryptocurrency mining. Authorities in the Montana region may impose restrictions and regulations, in order to limit the environmental impact of the practice.

According to a draft of the crypto mining resolution released by Missoula County authorities, the region is committed to "a goal of carbon neutrality in county government operations by 2035, and to a goal of 100% clean electricity for the Missoula urban area by 2030". It claims that the county is "already suffering the impacts of climate change especially in the form of more frequent and intense wildfires and wildfire smoke".

Crypto mining, for which Missoula County is a popular location due to its cheap electricity rates and cool climate, is identified as a threat to the environment not just because of its high energy consumption. The document mentions noise pollution, as well as electronic waste containing potentially harmful heavy metals.

The Board of County Commissioners has apparently concluded that "an emergency exists relative to impacts from cryptocurrency mining and that the county therefore has an obligation to take action". An interim zoning district is suggested, in which crypto mining operations would be subject to restrictions and regulations. This would be effective for one year, until the local authorities have had time to conduct a proper assessment of the risks and "evaluate the best alternatives".

Another document details the regulations that will be imposed. One of the key criteria for mining operations to be permitted in the region is that the "facilities shall be required to develop or purchase sufficient new renewable energy to offset 100 percent of the electricity consumed...To meet this condition, the cryptocurrency mining operation must be able to establish that their actions will introduce new renewable energy onto the electrical grid beyond what would have been developed otherwise".

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