New Law Safeguards Crypto Mining in Montana, Limits Local Government Power

The Montana State Senate has passed a bill to protect crypto miners from potential actions against the industry, which could overturn a Missoula County zoning law that was one of the first in the US to target mining. The proposed law, which passed 37-13 in the Senate, will next go to the state’s House for approval.

It safeguards at-home mining, prevents discriminatory utility rates for miners, and exempts crypto used for payment from additional taxes. Additionally, the legislation curtails the power of local governments to take action against at-home mining or retroactively use zoning laws to shut down active operations.

This new law could potentially upend a 2020 Missoula County zoning ordinance that required all bitcoin miners to purchase or construct renewable energy assets equivalent to their energy consumption. Environmentalists and US lawmakers have previously targeted bitcoin miners for their potential impacts on carbon neutrality goals and electrical grids.

To combat this, bitcoin miners have been pushing back, with as many as five bills going through state legislatures to protect the industry. The Bitcoin advocacy group Satoshi Action Fund was involved in drafting the language of the bill.