The New York State Assembly has passed a bill banning Bitcoin mining by gas-fired power plants for the next two years. The bill is now before the Senate. It was and still is hotly debated.
In New York state in 2018, a disused coal-fired power station was converted to a gas-fired power station and started mining Bitcoin. If the proposed law were to be enacted, this mining operation would not get a license renewal. Also, new mining operations won't be allowed to set up if they use old power plants. Miners who operate in a different way will be able to keep going.
Mining advocates have lobbied in recent months and managed to lower the ban's moratorium term from three years to two years.
It's no wonder that environmentalists are concerned about the emissions from these plants. New York wants to meet its own climate goals. On the other hand, it is understandable that proponents of crypto and/or Bitcoin do not agree that a particular technology is being singled out. After all, there are still plenty of power stations in New York that produce electricity for purposes other than mining.
Another argument from opponents of the law is that it is anti-tech and will drive out an emerging industry out of the state. Apart from the current battle for mining, New York is known as one of the most crypto-unfriendly states. The infamous BitLicense has put up high barriers for crypto startups since its introduction in 2015. Once again, New York state's stance on the crypto industry appears to be "guilty unless proven otherwise." This is in contrast to New York City, where Mayor Adams announced last year that he wanted to receive his first three months salary in Bitcoin.
The debate in New York is part of a larger debate about Bitcoin's energy consumption. Proponents of mining point out that it speeds up the transition to green energy generation. Other states, such as Texas, welcome miners with open arms. In that state, solar and wind energy is an important source of energy.