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Missoula County revisits zoning for cryptocurrency mining

Missoula Cryptocurrency Meeting
Posted at 9:02 AM, Jan 20, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-20 17:49:28-05

MISSOULA — The Missoula County Planning Board held its first public hearing Tuesday night on a proposal for the permanent zoning of cryptocurrency mining operations.

Cryptocurrency is digital currency, but it must the "mined" by big computers solving complex calculations.

Missoula County first encountered cryptocurrency mining when a company set up operations in the old Bonner mill warehouses more than three years ago.

That brought out-of-state revenue and provided some jobs, but it was also thousands of computer servers, taking megawatts of power.

Neighbors complained about the noise from the computers and fans along with the environmental impacts.

County commissioners enacted interim zoning controls in April of 2019, and the company ultimately filed for bankruptcy last spring.

That interim zoning will expire in April of this year. On Tuesday, the county began the process of renewing that zoning. No decisions will be made until multiple sessions of public comment are held on the matter.