Let’s hear the truth about Greenidge
Currently, the definition and use of the word true or truth is in question. Opposition groups cite very different facts or reports as the truth. It has become a national disease, but we don’t have to look any further than local issues to see this play out. When it gets closer, it becomes something we have to deal with.
England’s first poet laureate, John Dryden, is known to have said: “One should never expect truth from authors whose understanding is distorted by enthusiasm.”
There is perhaps no better quote to capture what we have seen of the handful of opponents to Greenidge Generation, Dresden’s former coal-fired power station. It seems to me that for the last nine months, really six years or more, a noisy little group has been campaigning against Greenidge. What is remarkable about this effort is not the enthusiasm behind it, but rather the extraordinary lack of concern for the truth in making this plea.
I applaud The Chronicle-Express for not publishing the lies that have been reported in local, state and national media, as well as social media. Here are some examples of misleading information that has been disseminated:
A Seneca Lake Guardian Facebook post on August 31 referred to Greenidge’s “new business model of reviving old or retired fossil fuel combustion plants to make cryptocurrency.” It is misleading. Greenidge resumed operations in 2017 and did not begin a small pilot Bitcoin mining operation with full state approval until 2019. The publication calls Greenidge “… a gas power station. fracturing plant designed to provide energy to the local community during peaks in energy consumption ”. False. Greenidge has been licensed by New York State to resume its 24/7 power generation operations, 365 days a year. To our knowledge, it has never been – or never asked to be – a spike plant. Greenidge sent a letter to SLG (June 5, 2021, with a copy sent to this newspaper and others) outlining the facts. But the false public statements continue.
The Facebook post says: “… and because it is set to work ‘behind the meter’, it completely escapes the Cuomo Community Protection and Climate Leadership Act aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions. greenhouse in New York State. ” Why, then, did the New York State DEC say on April 17: “… in addition to ensuring continued compliance with current DEC permits … impacts and consistency with boundaries highest emissions in the country established in the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act.
Another longtime opponent claimed in national media that Greenidge’s Bitcoin operation was damaging Seneca Lake: “The lake is so hot you feel like you’re in a hot tub. This source tried unsuccessfully to revisit this laughable quote once it came under close scrutiny. The sensational commentary was picked up by other media and widely broadcast. Public data shows that the water temperature at Seneca Lake over the past 30 days has averaged 67 degrees, with no hot tubs, and the amount of water Greenidge legally uses to generate electricity s ‘amounted to precisely 0.0032% of the total amount of water in the lake.
The same neighbor tweeted that Greenidge “… operates under decades-old permits and causes environmental damage in the Finger Lakes region.” The air and water licenses governing Greenidge’s operation today were issued when operations resumed after the use of coal-fired electricity ceased. That was a few years ago, not decades ago, and they’re all available to the public for review.
Additionally, there is simply no evidence that Greenidge is causing any damage to the Finger Lakes. In fact, the state has repeatedly stated that the facility is operating in full compliance with its permits.
Finally, groups such as Earth Justice and the Sierra Club have used similar tactics, including: “All of the power produced by Greenidge is exclusively for the bitcoin data mining center and not reaching the grid, that is – ie Greenidge works behind the meter. Greenidge has publicly stated that he sent more than 60% of his electricity to the grid in 2020 – after he started his legal Bitcoin mining on site. It continues to send electricity to the grid for homes and businesses today.
You get the point; there doesn’t seem to be much truth to these compelling statements.
Greenidge does not drain all of the water from Seneca Lake; it’s still there the last time I checked. They don’t use the lake water to cool the computers; they use ventilation for that. Although they create a lot of new jobs, they are not looking to expand their power generation capacity in Dresden. They are not opposed by the local government; In fact, the opposite is true. The Town of Torrey and others have repeatedly expressed public support for Greenidge.
In my opinion, this post has reported the news of the Greenidge operation fairly, accurately and without bias to both parties – for several years. Journalists and editors read and covered press releases, closely followed social media comments and wider media coverage, researched issues, and monitored government action regarding the facility. Believing that all parties must be heard, the Chronicle-Express published numerous letters to the editor opposing Greenidge. This is what readers expect from a local newspaper.
I don’t expect The Chronicle-Express to take sides in an honest debate. It is not the role of the media.
I hope, however, that the newspaper will continue to condemn the tactics of those who have intentionally misled the public on several occasions about Greenidge.
Despite what Dryden said centuries ago, we would certainly appreciate some truth from those who “enthusiastically” oppose Greenidge. It is long overdue.
Robert Schwarting is Election Commissioner for the Yates County Board of Elections and was previously the Yates County Planner, Executive Director of Yates County IDA and CEO of the Western Finger Lakes Solid Waste Management Authority.