CHELAN- Chelan City Councilmembers unanimously approved a six-month moratorium on bitcoin mining after a presentation from the Chelan County PUD on Feb. 13.
The city saw cryptocurrency mining as ‘a misuse of power’ according to Mayor Mike Cooney.
“We basically don’t want them coming to Chelan, it’s not the type of industry we’re looking for and we don’t feel it adds to the best interests of Chelan,” Cooney said. “A really clear-cut example the PUD showed us was somebody with a rather small operation using the same amount of wattage that Pybus Market and the proposed hotel has, so that made a big impression.”
City Councilmember Kelly Allen proposed the moratorium following the PUD’s presentation, addressing potential power issues related to cryptocurrency operations for six months. Mayor Cooney cited the work done to build an additional substation on the north shore of Lake Chelan, saying the city didn’t see the logic in pushing that power to bitcoin operations.
“We just feel like it’s a misuse of power, there’s a lot that has gone into creating that power,” Cooney said. “We want to make sure that the next person down the line that brings business can have power or the next people who come to build a home have power. I felt it was a great move.”
The city suspects that there are a handful of non-conforming bitcoin mining operations underway already, and wanted to work to prevent larger legal operations from moving in, Cooney said.
“Council will do a lot more learning and take it from there,” Cooney said. “The market is red-hot and people are trying to set up operation so at least it will stop legal operations.”
Cooney said the city is working with the PUD to identify any bitcoin mining operating in non-conforming zones such as a residential garage in an effort to enforce city code.