TELFORD, Tenn. (WJHL) – Residents in neighborhoods near the Washington County Industrial Park are hoping the county continues its lawsuit against the company behind a local bitcoin mining operation.
Washington County entered a lawsuit against Red Dog Technologies in November 2021 over a bitcoin mine in Limestone. The lawsuit contends the mine is operating in violation of the land’s zoning.
Before the lawsuit, neighbors in Limestone complained about the noise from the mine’s computers and fans.
Now a settlement has been presented to the Washington County Commission that, if approved, would move the Bitcoin mining operation to the industrial park in Telford.
Shane Keene has lived less than a mile away from the industrial park for years.
Noise from the factories nearby has not been a problem for him, but he said a Bitcoin mine could change that and hurt property values.
“I have a very relaxing backyard. I hear no adjacent noise. It’s like I don’t even know it [the industrial park] is there,” Keene said. “I’m also worried about property values. What’s this going to do to the property values of the local region here?”
If the settlement is approved, Red Dog would have to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines and fees for the zoning violation and sale of the land in the industrial park.
Red Dog would also have to pay for sound monitoring equipment at the new location. If noise levels go over 60 decibels for over 12 hours, the company would be subject to fees and even a temporary shutdown of the facility.
But Keene said that is not enough to change his mind that the mine doesn’t belong anywhere in the county.
“I just don’t see the benefit to the community, especially to the taxpayers,” Keene said. “The fact there has to be that much policing of something tells you that the proximity and location of these houses, you’re going to be affected.”
Approving the settlement would put the mine in Telford, but rejecting it keeps the lawsuit and the Limestone operation running.
Randy Gilliam, who has been the unofficial leader of the resistance against the Telford move, said it’s not a matter of Telford wanting the mine to stay in Limestone or vice versa.
“We do not want it or need it in Limestone. We do not want it or need it in Telford,” Gilliam said.
Gilliam said he expects a standing-room only crowd at the commission’s meetings regarding the settlement vote.
Gilliam said he would ask commissioners two questions ahead of the vote.
“One, is this something that we as a county need because it gives us jobs or it does good for our economy?” Gilliam said. “The second thing I’d ask them is, do you want it in your district?”
The commission will first consider the settlement at a Commerce, Industry and Agriculture Committee meeting on November 3.
It would then go to a full commission vote on November 27.