Several counties in Arkansas are racing against the clock to pass emergency legislation in order to control noise and other activities related to cryptocurrency mining. This urgent action is being taken before a new state law takes effect on August 1, according to local media reports.
The new state law aims to bring cryptocurrency mining facilities under the same regulations as data centers. It establishes guidelines for miners and protects them from discriminatory regulations and taxes. However, residents of Arkansas had very little time to discuss the legislation, as it was proposed, discussed in committees, and passed by legislators within a week, from March 30 to April 7.
State Representative Rick McClure, who authored the bill, revealed that there was no opposition to the legislation during committee discussions or on the legislative floors. Some of the prominent crypto mining companies in Arkansas include Green Digital, GMI Computing, United BitEngine, and Cryptic Farms.
One of the main concerns that prompted the new legislation was the excessive noise generated by crypto mining operations, which was reported to be bothersome 24 hours a day. Kris Kendrick, justice of the peace on Faulkner County’s Quorum Court, expressed her concerns during a July meeting, stating that while she had no issues with mining crypto, she was troubled by the noise level and the lack of consideration for neighbors.
Following the passage of the bill, the Association of Arkansas Counties developed a model ordinance that counties can adopt before the law takes effect. Since June, over a dozen counties have reportedly passed noise ordinances specifically targeting data centers.
Maree Coats, another justice of the peace, emphasized the impact of the noise on residents, highlighting that it is not just about being unable to enjoy a peaceful moment on the porch. People can hear the constant noise generated by mining operations from their bedrooms, affecting their everyday lives.
Although the new legislation does not completely prohibit county regulations, it does forbid local governments from discriminating against cryptocurrency mining facilities or imposing decibel limits that are different from those set for general sound pollution. Additionally, counties are not allowed to rezone areas with the intention or effect of discriminating against digital mining operations.
These new regulations highlight the growing concerns and challenges associated with cryptocurrency mining. As this industry continues to expand, striking a balance between economic development and the concerns of local communities becomes crucial. The urgency with which Arkansas counties are rushing to pass emergency legislation is indicative of the need to address these issues promptly and effectively.
In conclusion, several counties in Arkansas are expeditiously passing emergency legislation to regulate noise and other activities related to cryptocurrency mining. These actions are being taken in response to a new state law that aims to bring crypto mining facilities under the same regulations as data centers. The legislation provides guidelines for miners and protects them from discriminatory regulations and taxes. However, concerns about excessive noise generated by mining operations have prompted local authorities to enact additional rules. While the new legislation restricts county regulations to some extent, it aims to prevent discrimination against mining facilities and any attempt to limit noise levels beyond general sound pollution limits. These developments demonstrate the ongoing challenges of balancing the growth of the cryptocurrency industry with the concerns of local communities.