Bill Text: NY S06486 | 2021-2022 | General Assembly | Amended


Bill Title: Establishes a moratorium on consolidated operations that use proof-of-work authentication methods to validate blockchain transactions; provides that such operations shall be subject to a full generic environmental impact statement review.

Spectrum: Partisan Bill (Democrat 7-0)

Status: (Engrossed) 2021-06-08 - referred to environmental conservation [S06486 Detail]

Download: New_York-2021-S06486-Amended.html



                STATE OF NEW YORK
        ________________________________________________________________________

                                         6486--B

                               2021-2022 Regular Sessions

                    IN SENATE

                                       May 3, 2021
                                       ___________

        Introduced  by  Sens.  PARKER,  MAY, BRISPORT, KRUEGER, RYAN, SKOUFIS --
          read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to  be  committed  to
          the  Committee  on Environmental Conservation -- committee discharged,
          bill amended, ordered reprinted as amended  and  recommitted  to  said
          committee  -- committee discharged, bill amended, ordered reprinted as
          amended and recommitted to said committee

        AN ACT to amend the  environmental  conservation  law,  in  relation  to
          establishing  a  moratorium on consolidated operations that use proof-
          of-work authentication methods to  validate  blockchain  transactions;
          and  to require a comprehensive generic environmental impact statement
          review

          The People of the State of New York, represented in Senate and  Assem-
        bly, do enact as follows:

     1    Section  1.    Legislative  findings. The legislature hereby finds and
     2  declares that:
     3    (a) Climate change threatens the health, welfare, and economy  of  the
     4  state with increasingly severe and widespread impacts to our communities
     5  due  to  flooding,  sea level rise, heat waves, coastal erosion, erratic
     6  and unpredictable weather patterns, shifting  climatic  zones,  loss  of
     7  wildlife,  increased  harmful  algal  blooms  and  invasive species, and
     8  increased risk of disease, in part, which  leads  directly  to  loss  of
     9  life,  property  damage  and  reduction in value, ecological damage, and
    10  increased infrastructure costs;
    11    (b) It is the policy of the State of New York to conserve, improve and
    12  protect its natural resources and environment and to prevent, abate  and
    13  control  water,  land and air pollution, in order to enhance the health,
    14  safety and welfare of the people of the state and their overall economic
    15  and social well-being;
    16    (c) To mitigate the current and future effects of climate change,  the
    17  State  of  New  York  implemented  the  Climate Leadership and Community
    18  Protection Act, requiring that statewide  greenhouse  gas  emissions  be

         EXPLANATION--Matter in italics (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                              [ ] is old law to be omitted.
                                                                   LBD11081-13-1

        S. 6486--B                          2

     1  reduced  eighty-five  percent  by  2050  and that the state has net zero
     2  emissions in all sectors of the economy by that time;
     3    (d) Data centers running proof-of-work authentication methods to vali-
     4  date  blockchain  transactions are an expanding industry in the State of
     5  New York, often, but not exclusively, located in  retired  or  converted
     6  fossil fuel power stations, including in dormant peaker plants;
     7    (e)  The magnitude of computer processing output required to authenti-
     8  cate a single block of a blockchain with a proof-of-work method uses  as
     9  much energy as an average American household uses in a month. The annual
    10  global energy use for proof-of-work authentication is equivalent to that
    11  of  the  country of Sweden and exceeds the energy consumption of all the
    12  global activity of major tech companies like Amazon, Google,  and  Face-
    13  book combined;
    14    (f)  The  continued  and  expanded  operation  of data centers running
    15  proof-of-work authentication methods to validate blockchain transactions
    16  will greatly increase the amount of energy usage in  the  State  of  New
    17  York,  and  it  is  reasonable  to believe the associated greenhouse gas
    18  emissions will irreparably harm compliance with the  Climate  Leadership
    19  and Community Protection Act in contravention of state law;
    20    (g)  Consolidated  operations  that  use  proof-of-work authentication
    21  methods to validate blockchain transactions often use large  amounts  of
    22  water,  which,  when  discharged,  can raise the temperature of adjacent
    23  water bodies to levels that harm aquatic life,  including  fish  species
    24  that  are  important  for local tourism, and may increase the amount and
    25  frequency of harmful algal blooms on lakes, ponds and streams; and
    26    (h) Many fossil fuel power plants have been shut down across the state
    27  in recent years due to  reduced  energy  demand,  improved  transmission
    28  capacity  and non-economic carbon-based fuel sources. Consolidated oper-
    29  ations that use proof-of-work authentication methods to validate  block-
    30  chain  transactions  are bringing these plants back online, with behind-
    31  the-meter operations  that  greatly  exceed  the  previous  intermittent
    32  usage,  and  can cause significant negative impacts to air quality espe-
    33  cially in environmental justice communities.
    34    § 2. The environmental conservation law is amended  by  adding  a  new
    35  section 19-0329 to read as follows:
    36  § 19-0329. Moratorium on permit issuance and renewal.
    37    1.  The  department shall not approve a new application for or issue a
    38  new permit pursuant to this article for an electric generating  facility
    39  that  utilizes  a  carbon-based  fuel  and that provides, in whole or in
    40  part, behind-the-meter electric energy consumed or utilized by a facili-
    41  ty that uses proof-of-work authentication methods to validate blockchain
    42  transactions.
    43    2. The department shall not approve an application to renew an  exist-
    44  ing  permit  or  issue  a renewal permit pursuant to this article for an
    45  electric generating facility that utilizes a carbon-based fuel and  that
    46  provides, in whole or in part, behind-the-meter electric energy consumed
    47  or utilized by a facility that uses proof-of-work authentication methods
    48  to  validate blockchain transactions if the renewal application seeks to
    49  increase or will allow or result in an increase in the amount  of  elec-
    50  tric  energy  consumed or utilized by a facility that uses proof-of-work
    51  authentication methods to validate blockchain transactions.
    52    § 3. Generic environmental impact statement.  (a)  The  department  of
    53  environmental  conservation  shall prepare, pursuant to article eight of
    54  the environmental  conservation  law,  a  generic  environmental  impact
    55  statement  on  statewide  consolidated operations that use proof-of-work
    56  authentication methods to validate blockchain transactions.

        S. 6486--B                          3

     1    (b) The generic environmental impact statement  shall  address,  at  a
     2  minimum:
     3    (i)  the  number and location of existing consolidated operations that
     4  use proof-of-work authentication methods to validate  blockchain  trans-
     5  actions in the state;
     6    (ii) the amount of electric energy consumed by each such operation;
     7    (iii)  the  sources of electric energy consumed by each such operation
     8  and the type of fuel used by each energy source;
     9    (iv) the amount of greenhouse gas emissions and co-pollutants released
    10  by each energy source  attributable  to  providing  electric  energy  to
    11  consolidated operations that use proof-of-work authentication methods to
    12  validate blockchain transactions;
    13    (v)  the anticipated increase, if any, of consolidated operations that
    14  use proof-of-work authentication methods to validate  blockchain  trans-
    15  actions  in the state and the anticipated expansion, if any, of existing
    16  operations;
    17    (vi) the potential impacts of electric energy consumption  by  consol-
    18  idated operations that use proof-of-work authentication methods to vali-
    19  date  blockchain  transactions on the state's ability to meet the green-
    20  house gas emission reduction goals set forth in article seventy-five  of
    21  the environmental conservation law;
    22    (vii) the water quality and other ecological impacts, if any, of cool-
    23  ing  water use by consolidated operations that use proof-of-work authen-
    24  tication methods to validate blockchain transactions;
    25    (viii) the potential public health impacts, if any, due to reduced air
    26  and water quality in communities near consolidated operations  that  use
    27  proof-of-work  authentication  methods  to  validate  blockchain  trans-
    28  actions;
    29    (ix) the potential statewide  public  health  impacts,  if  any,  from
    30  increased  greenhouse  gas  emissions released by statewide consolidated
    31  operations that use proof-of-work  authentication  methods  to  validate
    32  blockchain transactions; and
    33    (x)  the  social  and  economic costs and benefits, if any, of consol-
    34  idated operations that use proof-of-work authentication methods to vali-
    35  date blockchain transactions.
    36    § 4. Any generic environmental impact statement draft shall be subject
    37  to 120 days of public comment from the date of issuance. The  department
    38  of  environmental conservation shall conduct at least one public hearing
    39  in each of the following regions of the state:  western  New  York,  the
    40  finger  lakes,  the  southern tier, central New York, the Mohawk valley,
    41  the north country, the capital region/Hudson valley, and the City of New
    42  York/Long Island, as defined by  the  Empire  State  Development  Corpo-
    43  ration.
    44    §  5.  The department shall issue a final generic environmental impact
    45  statement after close of the public comment and public hearing period.
    46    § 6. For the purposes of this act:
    47    (a) "proof-of-work" shall mean a consensus algorithm in  a  blockchain
    48  network  used  to  confirm  and  produce  new blocks to the chain, where
    49  competitors complete new blocks and  where  the  algorithm  changes  the
    50  complexity  of  the  competition  in a manner that is designed to and/or
    51  results in increased energy usage for each competitor when the complexi-
    52  ty is increased; and
    53    (b) "blockchain" shall mean a digital ledger in which transactions are
    54  recorded chronologically and publicly.
    55    § 7. This act shall take effect immediately.
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