BENTON, Ark. – On Monday, Benton introduced new regulations on data centers, including crypto-mining.
Crypto mining is a growing industry across the country, and in just a few days, a new state law will actually limit the regulation of urban centers.
Control how much noise a center can have in a neighborhood.
So cities like Benton are trying to get ahead of the law by adding their own noise ordinance at any future centers before this problem comes to town.
“It’s our job to do everything we can to get in front of it to protect people before it actually becomes a problem,” explained Benton Mayor Tom Farmer.
The machines can be very loud, and they received a standing ovation last month when the Vilonia City Board revoked a permit for a crypto mine in their town.
With this ordinance, Benton seeks to avoid a similar future of despair.
“To a certain extent people are saying, I don’t know why we let this happen. If you can do something to prevent this much noise in your city, you need to do it,” Farmer said.
The ordinance passed unanimously and is an emergency provision that takes effect immediately.
This comes days before a new state law specifically limits local government control over crypto-mining.
Tom Harford has advised ordinances like Benton’s with the Arkansas Blockchain Council. He explained how the group strives for crypto success while considering the needs of a city.
“There’s nothing in the law that says we’re going to shove crypto mines down the throats of towns that don’t want to have a crypto mine. The basic language of the law is basically not to discriminate against this industry because it’s an unknown,” Harford said.
There are ways to limit noise and bring some positive economic benefits to a city hosting these data centers, Harford said.
“The projected sales tax revenue coming into that community from a medium-sized crypto mine would be enough to cover that debt in a few years and cover it in subsequent years,” Hardford added.
Still, Mayor Farmer said he believes crypto has no place in Benton right now/
“The noise carries, there’s no area for our city limits, no one lives within half a mile…you have to protect everyone in the city, not just some,” Farmer added.
A new state law (Act 851) that limits local government actions on crypto mining will take effect at the end of July.