Counties in the state of Arkansas are scrambling to pass emergency legislation to regulate the noise levels of BTC block reward miners amid a looming new law that would protect the miners from being singled out through targeted legislation.
The Arkansas Data Centers Act of 2023 was passed in April and takes effect on August 1. It limits the kind of legislation counties can pass to target the digital asset mining operations, demanding that Arkansas treats them like other data center businesses.
As the local newspaper Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports, several counties have taken issue with the constant humming noise that the fans on the miner produce. Some say the noise can be heard miles away from their houses, disrupting their lives.
“I don’t have any issues with mining crypto, but just the noise level, the lack of care for our neighbors. I think there’s a continual disregard for being a good neighbor and this is not acceptable,” one resident of Faulkner County says.
The law protecting the digital asset miners passed in April, and for several weeks, most county lawmakers didn’t take notice of its stipulations. However, in recent weeks, they have realized that it bars them from targeting the miners with specific regulations, sparking a frantic race to pass new laws before August 1.
“In May, we started realizing, obviously, the way that the act was drafted, that greatly curtailed the ability and mechanics to exercise local control and home rule after it becomes effective,” states Mike Whitmore, the chief legal counsel for the Association of Arkansas Counties.
State Rep. Rick McClure, the Republican legislator behind the upcoming law, acknowledged that the lawmakers didn’t consider the unintended consequences at the time.
“In the weeks following [the passage of the bill] there have been several reported situations of problems with noise generated by digital asset miners. Large digital asset mining operations can be a problem. They can be loud and annoying,” he notes.
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