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Judge Rules in Favor of Greenidge in Water Permit Case


A lawsuit filed by Earthjustice regarding Greenidge Generation’s water discharge permit for its location in Dresden has been dismissed by the U.S. District Court. Judge Elizabeth Wolford of the Western District of New York dismissed the case for “failure to state a claim.”

In her ruling, Judge Wolford detailed how State requirements govern the sufficiency of Greenidge’s renewal application and how the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation had found Greenidge’s application to renew its water discharge permit timely and sufficient. The ruling can be read below.

The Earthjustice lawsuit was filed on behalf of Seneca Lake Guardian, the Committee to Preserve the Finger Lakes, and the Sierra Club. Greenidge said this latest case marks the fourth time opponents have sued the cryptocurrency datacenter and power generation company in state or federal court since 2016 and opponents have lost all six rulings in the cases and related appeals.

“We’ve said it before — how many times are we going to do, literally, this exact same thing? They’ve lost every lawsuit and appeal they’ve filed over seven years — 0-6,” said Greenidge Generation President Dale Irwin. “You can write the script in advance: file a superficial lawsuit, get some media attention, and then lose in court because you have no grounds. They don’t file lawsuits, they issue press releases dressed up as lawsuits and simply waste the courts’ and taxpayers’ time and money.

“Just this year, we completed a $6 million advanced fish screen system, meeting all state and federal requirements, to protect aquatic life in Seneca Lake. We are all locals here, and most of us, like me, grew up with this lake as central to our lives, and we care deeply about the health of Seneca Lake. After 80 years of this facility taking in water from different owners, we were thrilled to be the company to add this protection and deliver on a promise we made when we first decided to invest in Yates County.

“Efforts like this latest failed lawsuit are why nobody in the Finger Lakes listens to these gadflies anymore; they have zero credibility.”

Despite the ruling by Judge Wolford, the non-profits say they are not done fighting.

“The Court dismissed ‘without prejudice,’ meaning that the court left us with discretion to re-file the case. We continue to believe that Greenidge is violating federal Clean Water Act standards and are weighing our options for the next steps. We and our clients continue to worry about the impacts to Seneca Lake and the Keuka Lake Outlet from the power plant’s pollution discharges as well as the facility’s cooling water intake structure,” said Michael Youhana, Senior Associate Attorney at Earthjustice.

“Those of us who live in the Finger Lakes experience Greenidge’s blatant disregard for our natural resources every day, no matter what the court says. This failing company is accelerating climate change, harming our environment, and threatening the Finger Lakes $3 billion, 60,000-employee local agritourism economy. Governor Hochul and the DEC recognized this last year when they denied Greenidge’s air permit renewal. We won’t stop fighting to get this corporate bully out, and to protect everything that makes the Finger Lakes special,” said Yvonne Taylor, Vice President of Seneca Lake Guardian.

Judge Wolford’s ruling can be read below:

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