New York Gov. Kathy Hochul has signed into law a two-year moratorium on issuing or renewing air permits for one narrow form of cryptocurrency mining that the state Legislature passed earlier this year.
The new law only applies to what's called behind-the-meter mining that uses carbon-based fuel and proof-of-work validation methods.
The legislation also requires the state Department of Environmental Conservation to study the energy-sapping cryptomining method and its effect on climate change.
Cryptocurrency miners have been quick to expand across upstate New York by buying and repurposing old power plants to house the operations and make on-site energy behind the meter. The state has about 45 retired power plants across upstate regions.
"I will ensure that New York continues to be the center of financial innovation, while also taking important steps to prioritize the protection of our environment," Hochul wrote in a memo. "I am signing this legislation into law to build on New York's nation-building Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act," which requires the state to reduce greenhouse gas emissions over the next 30 years.
Supporters say the moratorium is needed to protect the environment and only affects a few operators.
Critics argue it will hurt a growing industry that has the potential to create high-paying jobs.