As many have seen, a lawsuit has been recently filed against the Town of Torrey in order to stop an expansion of the Greenidge bitcoin mining operation in Dresden.
Seneca Guardian, the Committee to Preserve the Finger Lakes and several residents near the plant are listed as plaintiffs in that action. Seneca Lake Pure Waters Association is not so involved, and we believe you should know why.
To first explain, our organization has been in the forefront of opposing Greenidge and its threat to our lake. For example, Pure Waters addressed both the Town of Torrey Planning Board as well as the Town Board at multiple public meetings in strong opposition of the expansion. Pure Waters also filed written opposition with the Public Service Commission (PSC) before its approval allowing Greenidge to convert from just generating power for peak grid energy demand to private bitcoin mining. I have also personally participated in numerous joint meetings with Seneca Guardian and The Committee to Preserve the Finger Lakes (CPFL) to gather public support to stop Greenidge and discuss how this operation (1) discharges super warm water into the Keuka Outlet and (2) lacks protective fish screens at its intake.
Finally, our organization has also personally met with the state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) to present our concerns of the Greenidge operation and have asked that a long overdue thermal study be conducted.
Why then are we not in the lawsuit? There are multiple reasons. To begin with, while we were active in the public forums, being adversaries in litigation was a risk we wanted to avoid. To explain, we are tasked this year with helping the Seneca Watershed Intermunicipal Organization (SWIO) achieve a fair share payment for our lake steward, Ian Smith. It may not be best to be suing one of the lake townships and at the same time asking for financial help to support Ian (who is vital to completing our Nine Element Plan and a whole lot more) from the other municipalities around the lake.
Likewise, the Town of Torrey was receptive to our past plea to adopt a septic inspection law. We want that positive working relationship to grow and prosper even if we may, at times, differ on opinions.
Finally, we analyzed the purpose of the suit as far as the overall scheme of things. The complaint claims proper procedures were not followed regarding the State Environmental Quality Review (SEQR) process. In particular, the Town Planning Board should not have taken over as the SEQR lead agency and failed to take proper steps to assume that role. That is in line with what Pure Waters was claiming at the public meetings. Certainly, a lake-wide problem should have been handled by a broader agency like the DEC.
However, the planning board would not listen to our plea and would not let the DEC study the proposal and approve it before any expansion occurred. While we are 100 percent behind that position, unfortunately, lawsuits can take years to complete. As there will not be a temporary restraining order to stop building the expansion during the action’s pendency, the case may never actually achieve its objective.
Thus, we are putting our efforts toward political pressure and solutions as well as DEC interventions Whether we are in the lawsuit or not will not affect those efforts and may, in fact, enhance them.
In showing our ongoing support of the cause, you will see a link below to the letter we, and the other mentioned environmental groups, are sending to our governor asking he take action against Greenidge in the form of curtailing permits. That would leverage the company into installing water cooling facilities and fish screens. We are also working on another similar letter to state and federal representatives asking for their help in curtailing this threat to our lake.
What can you do to help? Send in the letter, simply by the press of a button, and show your concern. It will be automatically recorded for head counts much as would be a formal petition.
If you have further questions send them along by email to email@example.com. With your help, we can strategically address this project that threatens the health of our priceless Seneca Lake.
Business and Organizational leaders Sign On - Click Here
Individuals sign on - Click Here
We are suggesting that organizations (and their membership as individuals) sign on to BOTH letters in an effort to gain as many signatories as possible, and asking them to share with their mailing lists and other groups.