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The Catch: Bitcoin mining and coal ash

The Catch: Bitcoin mining and coal ash
September 7, 2022 GLN Editor

Broadcasting in our monthly PBS television program, The Catch is a Great Lakes Now series that brings you more news about the lakes you love. Go beyond the headlines with reporters from around the region who cover the lakes and drinking water issues. Find all the work HERE.


This month, The Catch features stories from “Poisonous Ponds: Tackling Toxic Coal Ash,” a collaborative project featuring the reporting work of students at Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications on Great Lakes Now and Energy News Network programs and websites.

Journalist and recent Medill graduate Sruthi Gopalakrishnan discussed her story about a bitcoin mining operation in Dresden, New York. The plant, which is near the shores of New York’s largest Finger Lake, Seneca Lake, is called Greenidge Generation. Housed in a former coal-fired plant, the bitcoin mining operation is energy intensive.

Although the plant now burns natural gas, some of the ash left over from the plant’s days burning coal now sits in an unlined pond, just a short distance from Seneca Lake — and some locals are concerned about water pollution. 

“One of the residents that I talked to said he’s really too scared to drink that water, so he goes through several cases of water bottles every month,” Gopalakrishnan said.


Catch more news at Great Lakes Now:

In the Finger Lakes, a bitcoin mining plant billed as ‘green’ has a dirty coal ash problem

Reuse can divert coal ash from landfills, but challenges remain

To excavate or not to excavate: With toxic coal ash, that is the question


Featured image: Greenidge Generation is a Bitcoin mining plan housed in a former coal fired plant. Some of the ash left over from the plant’s days burning coal now sits in an unlined pond just a short distance from Seneca Lake, and some locals are concerned about water pollution. (Photo Credit: GLN)

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