Arkansas bills reining in crypto miners heads for governor approval

Two bills regulating crypto mining in the American state of Arkansas have fully passed the state’s House of Representatives and are heading to the Governor’s office — the last step before they become law.

On May 1, the Arkansas House of Representatives passed Senate Bills 78 and 79 to restrict certain activities relating to cryptocurrency mining in the state, according to reports.

Senate Bill 78 imposes noise limits on crypto mining farms, regulates the use of water for cooling, prohibits mining operations from being owned by foreign entities and restores local government control over their regulation.

Senate Bill 79 creates a state licensing and regulatory system overseen by the Oil and Gas Commission under the Department of Energy and Environment.

The two bills are now headed to Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders’ desk, which her office has said she will sign into law, the Associated Press reported.

The two bills will amend the Arkansas Data Centers Act of 2023, which quickly passed in the Arkansas legislature and provided some protections to mining sites.

The Act was heavily debated in April when the two bills were initially submitted as it severely limited the ability of local governments to regulate crypto-mining operations, leading to outrage and complaints from impacted rural communities.

Local outlet the Arkansas Advocate reported Republican Jeremiah Moore, the House sponsor of Bill 79, said the state has an emerging mining industry adding: “We’ve never seen anything quite like this in our state before.”

Related: Bill protecting Bitcoin mining rights passes in Arkansas Senate and House

Sanders’ spokesperson told the Arkansas Advocate the governor “strongly supports outlawing foreign adversaries from owning crypto mines in Arkansas while protecting rural communities and empowering them to crack down on bad actors.”

Crypto mining in the United States has become a major point of contention. In April the Biden Administration took a tougher stance against mining operations, citing China as an example for the U.S. to follow.

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