The troubles of life near a Bitcoin mine

Photo credit: Ivan Babydov

by Arline L. Bronzaft, Ph.D., Board of Directors, GrowNYC, Co-founder, The Quiet Coalition, and Honorary Chair, Quiet American Skies

This New York Times article on the noise emitted by computers mining Bitcoin opens with a security guard armed with an AR-15-style assault rifle. The guard makes sure his gun was loaded when he was approached by two men investigating noise complaints. Later in the article, the company’s attorney said that the guard was not ordered to “brandish a firearm.”

The residents living near this Bitcoin mine, NewRays One, are disturbed by the mine’s noise. This resulted in a lawsuit being filed against the owners of the mine. While some legislators are sympathetic toward the residents, Arkansas recently passed a bill  — the Arkansas Data Centers Act, popularly called the “Right to Mine” law — that protects Bitcoin miners from residents’ noise complaints. This bill, also passed in Montana, has also been introduced in other states.

The lawsuit was filed by at least two dozen residents claiming to have serious health problems such as high blood pressure, anxiety and sleep disturbance resulting from exposure to mine noise. One of the plaintiffs said that the noise, which can be heard “mostly around the clock,” has prevented her son from going outdoors.

The mine’s attorney’s argued that the lawsuit should be dismissed, as they now have “Right to Mine” on their side. And, the judge overseeing this case previously ruled in another case that a local law restricting noise violated state law. The neighbors said they will continue to fight the noise from the mine, even though the legal battle has already put them in debt. 

I hope the residents of Greenbrier, Arkansas know that there have been other noise-related lawsuits filed in the United States, and some cases have resulted in victories. These cases should give hope to these people suffering from Bitcoin noise pollution.

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