Bitcoin Miner Sued Over Pollution Despite Cleanup Claim

Bitcoin miner Stronghold Digital Mining is sued over alleged pollution, but the firm insists its operations are cleaning up the locale.

This Bitcoin miner is an eco friendly king.
Created by Kornelija Poderskytė from DailyCoin
  • A Pennsylvanian community group sues Bitcoin miner Stronghold Digital Mining.
  • The community group alleges environmental damage caused by the mining process.
  • Stronghold claims its activities are helping the local environment

The environmental toll of Bitcoin mining continues to be a flashpoint, with critics denouncing the crypto industry’s intensive use of fossil fuels and wasteful draw on electricity supply. 

This debate is playing out in Pennsylvania, where a community group called Save Carbon County has sued Bitcoin miner Stronghold Digital Mining over claims the firm is polluting the local environment. Yet, Stronghold insists its operations are cleaning up the local area.

In a blow to Bitcoin mining, Save Carbon County has filed a lawsuit against Stronghold Digital, alleging the company’s mining operation is polluting nearby communities by burning waste coal and old tires to power the energy-intensive mining process and releasing mercury into the local waterways.


The community group is seeking compensation and punitive damages from the company, as well as a court order to stop the alleged pollution.

The lawsuit also names Pennsylvania as a defendant, along with related entities, including the state governor, Josh Shapiro, on the basis that the co-defendants are complicit in violating the state’s constitutional duty to protect the environment by enabling Stronghold Digital’s activities through issued permits and tax incentives.

Stronghold Digital stated that its facilities clean up land and water using coal waste from historic mining in the region. The company claimed to have reclaimed over 1,050 acres of formerly blighted land.


This latest case has reignited the debate on Bitcoin mining’s environmental impact. Still, industry groups including the Bitcoin Mining Council (BMC) argue that proof-of-work mining creates an inconsequential impact.

BTC Mining Has Minimal Environmental Impact

The BMC continues to contend that Bitcoin mining is not as environmentally damaging as critics claim. In its latest report for the first half of 2023, the council stated that the Bitcoin network is using 59.9% sustainable energy sources, up from 58.9% in the previous period covering Q4 2022.

On the matter of wasteful electricity usage, the BMC claimed the Bitcoin network used just 0.21% of global energy in the first half of 2023, a slight increase from 0.17% in Q4 2022. The council argued that this demonstrates Bitcoin’s minimal burden on worldwide power grids.

The BMC consists of independent Bitcoin miners who voluntarily share their operational data to increase transparency in the mining industry. The organization aims to educate the public on the benefits of BTC mining.

On the Flipside

  • The BMC‘s membership represents a fraction of global miners, meaning its data may be unrepresentative.
  • Proponents of energy-intensive proof-of-work mining claim it is superior to proof-of-stake as it is more decentralized, and more secure due to the prohibitive cost of attacking a proof-of-work system.

Why This Matters

While crypto proponents may tout economic opportunities as a result of Bitcoin mining, this case lays bare the tension between those financial incentives and environmental costs. A ruling favoring the community group could encourage more challenges against miners operating in residential areas and spur tighter regulations around emissions and energy sources.

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This article is for information purposes only and should not be considered trading or investment advice. Nothing herein shall be construed as financial, legal, or tax advice. Trading forex, cryptocurrencies, and CFDs pose a considerable risk of loss.

Samuel Wan

Samuel Wan is a finance professional turned crypto journalist, known for his insightful reporting on market trends, regulatory changes, and technological developments within the digital asset industry. His ability to simplify complex concepts and report the facts has made him a trusted source in the crypto community. Beyond his writing, Samuel is an active mountain biker and gamer.