The cryptocurrency mining moratorium had appeared shelved Thursday, which was...

The cryptocurrency mining moratorium had appeared shelved Thursday, which was the last scheduled day of the 2022 session in Albany. But the State Senate and Assembly recalled the bill after intense political lobbying from environmental groups. Credit: AP / Hans Pennink

ALBANY — The Assembly on Friday gave final legislative approval to suspend growth in the “cryptocurrency mining” industry for two years to study its impact on global warming.

The bill had appeared shelved on Thursday, which was the last scheduled day of the 2022 session. But groundswells of support by important political constituencies of the Democratic majorities revived it.

The Legislature agreed to the two-year moratorium on any new air quality permits issued in cryptocurrency mining. The industry gets its massive supply of power from old power plants that environmentalists warn contribute significantly to greenhouse gases and global warming.

The moratorium will allow for a detailed environmental study and the “uniquely exorbitant amount of energy” needed to power thousands of high-powered computers that run 24 hours a day to solve mathematical equations. The computations are needed to authenticate a transaction using cryptocurrency, such as Bitcoin, which requires no centralized bank.

The Senate and Assembly recalled the bill after intense lobbying by environmental groups.

Failure to enact the moratorium would “seriously undermine the state’s commitment to meet the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act statutory requirement in the midst of a climate crisis,” said Anne Rabe, environmental policy director of the New York Public Interest Research Group. She referred to goals set three years ago in state law to reduce emissions that contribute to global warming.

Assemb. Anna Kelles (D-Ithaca) said the measure she sponsored will “ensure we don't bring retired power plants back on line for private gain during the climate crisis.”

Hochul, however, isn’t saying whether she will sign the bill into law.

“We have to balance protection of the environment, but also protect the opportunity for jobs that go to areas that don't see a lot of activity,” Hochul said. “You need to assess the volume of energy consumed by them in their existence versus what is being done now. So there's a lot involved.”

The Legislature also approved the Grieving Families Act. It was supported by family members of Long Islanders killed or hurt in the 2015 limousine crash in Cutchogue and the 2018 fatal limousine crash in Schoharie County. The measure amends a 175-year-old state law by allowing families who lost a loved one in a wrongful death to sue for compensation. The existing law limited compensation for deaths to levels far lower than compensation allowed for people who were injured, but survived.

“We’re elated,” said Nancy DiMonte of East Northport, a Cutchogue crash families’ spokeswoman whose 29-year-old daughter, Joelle, was seriously injured. “This will help families in the future deal with the grief and the closure process,” she told Newsday.

The Legislature also gave its final approval to a consumer protection bill aimed at “mega ticket retailers” for what Sen. James Skoufis (D-Cornwall) calls deceptive practices in selling tickets to music, theater and sports events.

The measure would require ticket sellers to make public the original price of the ticket and reveal all the added fees and surcharges in the initial listing of the ticket on a website, not several clicks in. The measure also eliminated delivery fees for tickets delivered electronically or that are printed by the buyer.

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