Pennsylvania bitcoin mine faces scrutiny over end-of-life tire fuel plans

According to a media platform Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, a Pennsylvania-based bitcoin mine, located at a waste coal power plant, plans to incorporate end-of-life tires as a new fuel source. Stronghold Digital Mining, the mining company, states it is an “environmentally beneficial” bitcoin miner. However, during a recent press conference, environmental advocates raised concerns about air quality violations at the facility, known as Panther Creek, since its acquisition by Stronghold in 2021.

Tire waste is a significant problem in the United States, with around 300 million end-of-life tires generated annually. Burning them is considered better than landfill disposal, but it’s not as sustainable as recycling. Tire incineration can release various air pollutants, including carcinogenic compounds like polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). Panther Creek does not currently monitor the release of these pollutants.

Several companies, including Standard American Mining and XcelPlus International Inc., have explored the idea of using tire-derived fuels for cryptocurrency mining. These fuels are cheaper than other fossil fuels, aligning with the trend of miners seeking low-cost energy sources.

Environmental advocates have called on Pennsylvania’s Department of Environmental Protection to consider the energy’s purpose generated at Panther Creek. They argue that using it for cryptocurrency mining provides no benefit to local residents, urging more stringent air pollution monitoring.

This situation is of particular concern in Carbon County, one of the state’s poorest areas, with many residents living below the federal poverty level. Environmental justice issues are raised, emphasizing the need for responsible energy use and more robust pollution monitoring.

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