JONESBOROUGH, Tenn. (WJHL) — Washington County and BrightRidge leaders both approved a settlement in the county’s suit over a Bitcoin mine in rural Limestone more than two weeks ago, but people in two communities remain anxious about the details.
That’s particularly true of folks who live near the Washington County Industrial Park (WCIP), which is set to become home to a new Bitcoin mine if the proposed settlement is finalized. A mine that started up in Limestone in late 2020 will shut down as part of the settlement once a new one can be stood up in a yet-undisclosed five-acre location in the WCIP.
Washington County residents wondering about the future of a controversial bitcoin mine – and its replacement – will have to wait just a bit longer.
County commissioners heard Monday that a settlement in their suit against BrightRidge and Bitcoin mine owner Red Dog Technologies still hasn’t been finalized and approved by a judge.
Commissioners and BrightRidge’s board approved a draft settlement early this month. County attorney Allyson Wilkinson told commissioners the final paperwork to officially move toward shutting down the mine in Limestone once one is opened near the county’s industrial park isn’t yet complete.
Without approval and a signature from Washington County Chancellor John Rambo, Wilkinson said it’s best to hold details until everything is final. That leaves the county unable to share details about where exactly Red Dog’s new operation will go in the WCIP.
Nearby resident Randy Gilliam spoke at Monday’s meeting saying he opposed the relocation into his neighborhood – saying he’s concerned noise issues will persist at the new site. Wilkinson expects to be able to share more specific details at the July meeting.
Noise complaints about the fans that cool high-powered computers that “mine” Bitcoin and verify the cryptocurrency’s transactions led to the lawsuit. Washington County argued that because BrightRidge, which sought rezoning for the site, isn’t the mine’s operator — a private company called Red Dog Technologies is — the mine next to a substation on Bailey Bridge Road violated zoning laws.
Gilliam lives at 83 Carters View Way in Telford, directly adjacent to the WCIP in a home he and his wife bought just two years ago.
“I’m as distraught, if not more, than the people have been for the past months over in Limestone because we know that this is going to affect the quality of living that we have here,” Gilliam said of a replacement Red Dog Technologies Bitcoin mine in Telford.
He said part of that distress comes from not knowing where the five acres is within the industrial park that Red Dog has agreed to buy land for its new mine.
The finalized agreement may also signal when BrightRidge officials will choose to share specifics on the 51 homes that the utility has agreed to extend fiber internet to because they’re within a half-mile radius of the current Bitcoin mine.
The proposed settlement includes the provision of free broadband for at least a year and for as long as Red Dog’s Bailey Bridge Road facility keeps operating. The settlement puts a hard end date at Dec. 31, 2024, but Red Dog parent company CEO Trey Kelly said at a June 9 called county commission meeting that he wants and expects the move to occur sooner.
The lawsuit is still set for July 11-13 but the parties plan to request a continuance if the settlement hasn’t been finalized before then.