Arkansas counties rush to pass noise regulations for crypto miners

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Arkansas counties rush to pass noise regulations for crypto miners
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Several counties in the U.S. state of Arkansas are rushing to pass emergency legislations allowing them to control noise and other activities related to crypto mining before a new state law comes into effect on August 1, according to local media reports. 

The new state law brings crypto mining facilities under the same regulations applied to data centers, creating guidelines for miners and protecting them from discriminatory regulations and taxes. Residents of Arkansas, however, barely had time to discuss the new legislation, which was proposed, discussed in committees, and passed by legislators within a week, from March 30 to April 7.

State Rep. Rick McClure, who authored the bill, reportedly said that “no one spoke against this bill in committees, or on the legislative floors.” Crypto mining companies in Arkansas include Green Digital, GMI Computing, United BitEngine, and Cryptic Farms.

Arkansas Data Centers Act of 2023. Source: Arkansas State Legislature.

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Local authorities are enacting more rules to address complaints of excessive noise 24 hours a day. “I don’t have any issues with mining crypto, but just the noise level, the lack of care for our neighbors,” said Kris Kendrick, justice of the peace on Faulkner County’s Quorum Court, during a July meeting.

After the bill passed, the Association of Arkansas Counties developed a model ordinance that counties can use before the law takes effect. Since June, more than a dozen counties have reportedly passed noise ordinances that target data centers.

“I also want to make the point that it’s not these people stepping out on the front porch and [not] being able to enjoy a glass of tea sitting on the back porch. These people can hear this sound 24/7 from their bedrooms,” Justice of the Peace reportedly Maree Coats said.

Despite not completely prohibiting county regulations, the new legislation prohibits local governments from discriminating against crypto mining facilities or from limiting decibel levels “other than the limits set for sound pollution generally.” Counties are also forbidden from rezoning areas “with the intent or effect of discriminating against” digital mining operations.

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