Grant County cities do not intend to allow crypto mining activities in their region. The latest city in the region to ban cryptocurrency mining is Ephrata. The city council on Wednesday voted to block new operations for digital currency mining for the next 12 months. The council suggests that the step is being taken to decide how these activities can help the city.
A Moratorium Is Not the End
The council voted for the moratorium 6-1. The only council member who was against the temporary ban was Matt Moore. Mayor Bruce Reim was not present in the meeting on Wednesday.
Kathleen Allstot, a council member, explained that the ban is not permanent in nature. She said:
“A moratorium means taking a break. This is a one-year break … We wait to see what’s going, make sure this fits in Ephrata and the Grant County (Public Utility District) has figured out how to get power to it.”
The Columbia basin offers inexpensive and reliable electricity, a key raw material needed by digital currency miners. Mining operations need electricity to run their hardware, as well as to power their cooling systems, which help in maintaining the temperature of their premises. The trade-off for abundant power is a low humming noise.
Residents Don’t Like the Mining Activity
Donna Huesties, one resident of the region, doesn’t favor digital currency mining. She described her experience as having to hear the noise of the “ocean.” She lives in Nob Hill Drive, with her home overlooking one of the mining operations in the city. She told the council:
“And I tried to pretend it was the ocean, but that gets old, 24/7, 24/7, 24/7.”
Her husband, Gary, said that the couple was unable to enjoy the backyard because of the constant noise of the miners’ industrial air conditioners all through the summer.
Moore suggests that banning a single industry from the city was not within the city’s expertise, especially since factors that would decide on the viability of mining operations in the city are outside its control. He noted:
“Economics will be the deciding factor. If this is an economical business, and this is one of the ideal places to situate it, I don’t want to surrender any economic opportunity big or small.”
The current ban will only stop new cryptocurrency operations from establishing in Ephrata. It does not affect the four crypto mining facilities already located in the city.
The Grant County is expected to launch a new electricity rate, which will be effective in April 2019.