NORTH TONAWANDA, N.Y. (WIVB) — Some North Tonawanda residents say a new cryptocurrency facility is causing them sleepless nights.
Digihost moved into the Fortistar plant on Erie Avenue. The Canadian-based cryptocurrency company started testing its bitcoin mining equipment earlier this week.
“I can’t sleep. I try to go to bed and I just lay there listening to the whining and the humming,” said Karen Hance, who lives in the neighborhood across the street from the plant. “I have been waiting for summer to come since September. I love to be out in my garden and I want to open my windows. Now I don’t know how I’m going to sit in my backyard and relax.”
North Tonawanda Mayor Austin Tylec said he’s been in contact with the plant’s manager. He said that company officials tell him they will eventually move the equipment into large insulated pods that will dampen the noise.
“There are stipulations about decibel levels. It’s something like, on that site they can’t exceed 65 decibels. On a residential parcel you can’t exceed 55 decibels,” Tylec said. “[The Fortistar plant] did send our code enforcement level readings, and they fell somewhere around 63 decibels, which is pretty close to that 65 marker…a lot of our questions now are ‘what is the reading on residential plots?'”
Tylec attempted to hold off on bringing the company into the city when he sat on the Common Council, calling for a moratorium, but was overruled by the majority – including Council President Robert Pecoraro.
“It’s a power plant, and residents want businesses to come back into North Tonawanda,” Pecoraro said. “I don’t regret the decision moving forward with Digihost, but they have to work with us to make sure our residents are taken care of, that they’re respected and that there’s a quality of life initiative.”
Some residents are now fighting back, filing a lawsuit which cites the violation of the zoning ordinance and State Environmental Conservation Law.
“We have also filed an injunction saying this operation should be halted where it stands today until all these requirements have been met,” said Deb Gondek, a plaintiff on the lawsuit.
This case is scheduled to be argued before State Supreme Court Justice Frank Sedita III next week.
News 4 has reached out to Digihost for comment on the lawsuit, we have not heard back at this time.