BrightRidge, an internet and electricity provider, confirmed Tuesday that it had received a letter by the Washington County government asking for compliance regarding a loud Bitcoin mining operation on one of its properties.
On Monday night, the Washington County Commission met unanimously and approved Angie Charles, Planning Director, to send the letter. It describes a violation of zoning on Brightridge’s property in rural Limestone.
Kent Harris, Washington County Commissioner, stated that Brightridge was asked by the letter to conform with zoning laws within 30 days. Red Dog Technologies, a private company operating the Bitcoin mine commercially, is in violation of the property’s Zoning.
If BrightRidge fails to comply, the vote of the commission allows for litigation by county attorney.
Harris stated, ‘I believe that it should be closed down.’ Harris said that litigation is not something people like, but that if it does, it will be the end.
In February 2020, the County Commission approved the original rezoning request for the 22-acre property. It requested that the land be rezoned from general agriculture land to agricultural business. This would have meant utility-only land uses. BrightRidge proposed that the land be used for a blockchain data centre.
Harris is the representative of the district that holds the mine. He regretted voting, claiming that BrightRidge had not told the whole story to the commission.
Harris stated that the commission had repeatedly said that they were misled right from the beginning. Harris said that the situation was pulled on our eyes. It was going to be a Solar Farm or something for BrightRidge.
Although plans for a possible solar farm are mentioned in the rezoning documents they do not mention Red Dog Technologies nor that any private entity would operate there.
Last month, Joe Grandy, a Brightridge board member and Washington County mayor, addressed the commission about the noise. He stated that he believed the noise should be reduced or shut down.
Grandy stated that although the mine is not at risk legally due to the noise, efforts to reduce it were insufficient.
Grandy stated that this was not the case for the business that ended up being part in this project. Red Dog worked with neighbors to reduce noise and make them better neighbors. It was slow and they didn’t succeed despite their best efforts.
Residents complained earlier this year about the loud hum the Bitcoin farm made from cooling fans.
Because Brightridge is their number one customer, those fans work hard. Brightridge’s Red Dog servers consume more electricity than any other operation.
Due to the possibility of litigation, Brightridge executives were unable to comment.
If Brightridge fails to comply with the zoning requirements, the Washington County Commission will take further action at its next meeting.