OPINION

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Greenidge descriptions 'inaccurate'

Letter to the Editor

I take great umbrage at the frequency and quality of staff reporting on Greenidge Generation LLC, aka Greenidge Generation Holdings, Inc. In an April 28, 2021 report entitled "Will the Keuka Outlet Trail finally reach Seneca Lake?" you report that "Greenidge Generation LLC is a vertically integrated environmentally-sound power generating and data processing center in Dresden." In the Jan. 5, 2022 report entitled “Greenidge Generation Celebrates a Year of Giving” the description changes from environmentally-sound to 100% carbon neutral.

Neither of these descriptions is accurate. It’s a disservice to our community offering such a green-washed description of one of the major polluters in the region. You've mischaracterized them as some magnanimous benign entity just doing business as usual by buying local support.

Here's what your readers should know: 

"Vertically integrated" means they built their own gas pipeline to transport PA fracked gas from the main line directly to their plant, committing themselves to a future of fossil fuel use. The majority of the power they generate now is for their own enrichment.

"Data processing center" means they are producing proof of work cryptocurrency, aka bitcoin mining, which uses extraordinary, ever-increasing amounts of energy to power computers and cool them down.

“Environmentally-sound” is false, so is “100% carbon neutral” since fracked gas is a major source of greenhouse gases methane and ozone. 

The 58,000 jobs here in a still developing agri-tourism industry will far outlast Greenidge's token gifts for allegiance currently being sprinkled through the community. Burning more fossil fuels in the middle of a climate crisis to make fake money is stealing the future from our grandchildren and is the basest kind of greed and selfishness. 

Ask your state legislators to support moratorium legislation in NYS until a comprehensive study of the industry and its impacts can be fully evaluated.

Edgar A. Brown

Middlesex

EDITOR'S REPLY

Mr. Brown,

I understand your feelings about the climate crisis, but I would make a few points:

1. Greenidge converted a coal-fired plant to natural gas rather than going somewhere else  where they could have bought one of the 247 still operational coal plants in the U.S.A. They also pay sales tax on all the gas they purchase to generate electricity for the cryptocurrency mining operation (which they do not for the portion of electricity they supply to the grid). These taxes help support NYS DEC and their efforts to improve the environment, as well as supporting local needs.

2. Greenidge freely admits their operation produces greenhouse gasses, and due to that, they purchase carbon offsets for projects that are reviewed and certified by either the American Carbon Registry, the Climate Action Reserve, or Verra. The carbon offset program has been one of the most important elements of combating climate change by setting the costs for carbon sequestration projects upon industries who should be paying for it.

3. Greenidge is using a portion of the profits from the bitcoin mining to construct a 5-megawatt solar farm on the old ash landfill left at the Lockwood Hills site (which they also pay to maintain, having recently renovated the leachate ponds with linings to protect Seneca Lake and groundwater).

4. This disclaimer is also printed with every letter to the editor in The Chronicle-Express:

EDITOR’S NOTE: Letter writers are responsible for making sure the information they submit is accurate and factual.

John Christensen

Staff Writer, The Chronicle-Express