“Preserving the environment goes beyond just reducing carbon emissions; it also means safeguarding our communities from hazardous practices like burning tires for bitcoin-mining fuel. Carbon County environmental groups take a stand, ensuring a sustainable future where our air, land, and people are protected from such detrimental activities.”
A power plant in Carbon County, Pennsylvania, has come under scrutiny for its plans to burn old tires to fuel bitcoin mining operations. The Panther Creek plant, owned by Stronghold Digital Mining, is seeking permission from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to use tire-derived fuel as a supplement to its current coal refuse. The plant is only permitted to use coal refuse, which is coal scrap mixed with other materials. The process of mining bitcoin requires significant energy, and the plant’s energy is used exclusively for Stronghold’s crypto-mining operations.
Activists and local residents are concerned about the potential health and environmental impacts of burning tires. Research has shown that tire-derived fuel produces more energy than coal, but it also releases pollutants associated with respiratory diseases, cancer, and other health issues. The plant has already been cited for violating air emissions regulations several times since Stronghold took ownership. The application to burn tire-derived fuel states that the plant uses air pollution controls to remove harmful emissions, but activists argue that this does not make the operation environmentally friendly.
Environmental activists argue that approving the use of tire-derived fuel would prioritize financial gains for Stronghold’s executives and investors over the well-being of Carbon County residents and the environment. They also criticize the company for bringing in waste tires from outside the county, adding to the community’s burden. Tire-derived fuel is not a new practice in the region, with several nearby facilities already using it. However, activists believe that burning tires is still harmful and have called into question the validity of studies supporting the practice.
The decision on whether to approve the use of tire-derived fuel at the Panther Creek plant lies with the Pennsylvania DEP. The formal public comment period has closed, and activists are hoping that the department will reject the proposal. Regardless of the outcome, local activists are determined to stand up for their county and send a message to other polluters that the community will not be taken advantage of.