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Niagara Falls voices concerns over crypto mining facilities

Residents say for far too long cryptocurrency mining facilities have been disrupting their daily lives and are demanding city leaders take action.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — The City of Niagara Falls is the latest community to voice frustrations about cryptocurrency mining facilities.

On Wednesday, residents took to the podium in front of the planning board and Mayor Rob Restaino to share their thoughts and concerns as they relate to disturbing noises and issues having to do with the quality of life and the environment. 

One resident shared, "I used to hear the Falls from my backyard...now I hear Bitcoin.

Another followed with, "It has reduced the level of comfort inside and outside of my house."

The city currently hosts two different mining facilities, three miles apart. There's one on Buffalo Avenue owned by U.S. Bitcoin Corporation and another on Frontier Avenue, which was purchased by the company Blockfusion back in 2019.

Mackinzie Dae is the Director of Operations for Blockfusion and was present for the hearing, during which he addressed both the community and the media. 

"Just know," Dae said. "We're also trying to work with you guys. We're trying to figure out industry, we're trying to do the right thing."

And yet, many taxpayers don't believe that to be true.

Another shared, "there's noise and has been noise since 2021, sound travels."

2 On Your Side's Liz Lewin asked Mayor Restaino how a major business moves into the community and causes disruption without clearance from his office or others. 

His response?

"The answer to your question is they can't. The reality is, that they tried. So, what happened is we stopped the construction and imposed a moratorium.

Back in December of 2021, after complaints started to pile up, the city imposed a 180-day moratorium on bitcoin operations while trying to sort out ordinances, zoning issues, and community complaints. That moratorium was extended and is now set to expire on September 13, 2022.

"What we're trying to do is take an industry that is ten years old, 2009 I believe, and wrap our arms around it in a community that has no zoning regulations for this, no method of establishing a way in which this industry can operate," Restaino continued.

During the public hearing, Restaino introduced a recommendation, proposed by the city council, to create a new High Energy Overlay Zoning District to help solve some of the ongoing problems.

But first, before recommendations are made, it has to be reviewed by the planning board.

The board plans to meet again in early August. 



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