In April 2023, Arkansas made history by becoming the first state to pass the ‘Right to Mine’ Bitcoin bill in both the House and Senate. However, the “Right to Mine” law in Arkansas is encountering increasing opposition as it relaxes regulations on commercial crypto mining.
Reports have suggested that loosening restrictions on commercial cryptocurrency mining has raised concerns. This is because after enacting the new law, large electricity-intensive crypto mines entered Arkansas.
The legislation has sparked controversy by limiting the authority of city governments to regulate crypto mines. This has effectively stripped them of their ability to enforce local ordinances concerning such operations.
During the 2023 legislative session, Arkansas Senator Bryan King (R) from District 28 expressed criticism of the bill’s introduction. And Senator King is reportedly planning to introduce another bill aimed at repealing the controversial “Right to Mine” law.
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Reports indicate that residents have raised numerous concerns, including excessive noise, substantial power grid usage, and the fact that Green Digital LLC., the company behind the proposed crypto mines in their cities, is a subsidiary partially owned by the Chinese Communist Party.
Some Towns Have Rejected Proposed Crypto-Mining Facilities
Arkansas Senator Bryan King has taken proactive steps by drafting a bill aimed at repealing the controversial law related to crypto-mining. One of the major worries is the strain on the local power grid caused by the electricity-intensive nature of crypto-mining operations.
Reports have surfaced that some areas are already facing warnings of potential brownouts or blackouts. This is because of the increased energy consumption from these facilities.
As of the current moment, local reports indicate that Arkansas is home to approximately 10 crypto mines. Vilonia and Harrison, two towns in Arkansas, have prevented attempts to establish proposed crypto-mining facilities within their respective city limits.
Senator Bryan King has further contended that crypto mines do not serve as economic boons to the communities where they establish their operations.
He specifically highlighted that facilities like those proposed by Green Digital only employ a limited number of people. As such, the mines fail to provide substantial job opportunities or significant economic growth to the areas they operate.
Advocacy For The Mining Bill
Senator Joshua Bryant (R) who sponsored the bill explained and supported that the bill aims to protect property rights and stop the unfair treatment of crypto entrepreneurs.
He said that crypto miners are people living in Arkansas who invest money in the state’s infrastructure, help keep utility costs stable, and boost the local economy.
Bryant points out that if crypto-mining facilities are treated similarly to other data centers, the law allows local governments to create their own regulations.
Furthermore, he clarified, that regarding noise ordinances, local governments are free to regulate commercial facilities as they deem appropriate.
However, the bill specifically focuses on home mining operations. In this regard, it suggests adhering to existing federal and state laws related to nuisances. It also includes the US EPA Noise Act or standard statutory language outlined in the Disturbance Act.
Nevertheless, the Arkansas “Right to Mine” law is set to take effect next month.