LIMESTONE, Tenn. (WJHL) — Brights Zoo is a sanctuary for many exotic animals. Over a quarter of them are endangered, but the zoo is faced with a problem.
Red Dog Technologies partnered with BrightRidge to put in a Bitcoin mine in the New Salem community. Neighbors complained about the noise, and Washington County commissioners filed a lawsuit. A proposed settlement could move the Bitcoin operation to the Washington County Industrial Park — a little over 2 miles from Brights Zoo.
“More or less force our hand to close down and start having to move animals off-site because we know that the sound can be effective for up to 3 miles,” said zoo director, David Bright.
Noise pollution can throw animals off balance.
“I mean, our animals are used to certain sounds,” said Bright. “So, if there are people in the zoo, they’re used to that. But you’re talking a few hours of the day, let alone you go 24 hours a day, they don’t have a way to get away from it.”
Right now, the zoo is close to two other noise creators: Highway 11-E and the industrial park. Bright claims these aren’t issues.
“Industrial Park, I’ve never heard. Even up close, I don’t hear anything from them,” Bright said.
When building the zoo, they planted trees along the busy highway to keep out the noise.
Putting a Bitcoin mine means taking away an important asset to the community.
“Right now, we see tens of thousands of school kids on field trips. So now you’re pushing those kids to go to Knoxville Zoo or somewhere else that’s an hour from here,” Bright said. “And that’s something that everyone kind of has to think about.”