In a 5-1 vote on Thursday night, the City of Plattsburgh, New York formally ended its moratorium on cryptocurrency mining operations, according to a report from Sun Community News. The decision comes nearly 12 months after the city became the first in the U.S. to ban digital currency mining.
The March 2018 moratorium cited a need to “protect and enhance the city’s natural, historic, cultural and electrical resources.” Prior to the ban, residents had complained of excess noise and various safety concerns. In addition, the crypto mining operations had reportedly had a negative impact on the city’s electrical resources.
According to reports at the time, the increased power used by those miners caused the city to exceed its planned power budget. The excess demand could only be met by purchasing electricity from the open market, which quickly led to higher energy bills for the city’s residents – with some seeing their bills rise by as much as $200 a month.
The moratorium was originally planned to last for 18 months. Plattsburgh Councilor Patrick McFarlin explained why the ban was ended six months early:
“It didn’t make sense to keep the moratorium for longer than we needed to. It was put in place so we could pass legislation, we passed that legislation, so there’s no need for the moratorium. If it becomes a problem again, I’m sure we’ll have to deal with it.”
During the moratorium, the city acted to address issues related to zoning, building codes, and safety, in an effort to ensure that city residents’ quality of life wouldn’t be impacted by the miners' activities. The Public Service Commission also issued a ruling that allows cities like Plattsburgh to charge higher electricity rates for “high-density load users” like crypto miners if their power demands force cities to exceed their low rate power quotas.