Texas Jury Sides with Bitcoin Miner Marathon in ‘Nightmare’ Noise Dispute

In a surprising turn of events, a Texas jury has acquitted David Fischer, the site manager for a Marathon Digital Holdings Bitcoin mining facility in Granbury, of all 12 noise violation charges levied against him.

This comes after a contentious battle between the company and Granbury residents, who claim the facility’s incessant whirring fans have caused health problems including headaches, vertigo, nausea, and sleep disturbances.

While the verdict is a win for Marathon, the case has highlighted concerns around the environmental impact of large-scale Bitcoin mining—particularly its noise pollution.

Residents reported experiencing constant low-frequency hums exceeding 85 decibels, according to Hood County Constable John Shirley.

Prolonged exposure to such levels can lead to hearing loss, with residents describing the conditions as “living in a nightmare,” and likening the noise to “a runway with jets taking off.”

Jurors acknowledged the noise was unreasonable, but had trouble connecting it to Fischer personally, according to Hood County attorney Matt Mills. The defense argued that Shirley’s sound readings were inaccurate and politically motivated.

Bitcoin mining’s rapid growth has sparked heated debates in the small towns where miners are setting up shop. From Granbury, Texas to Belfry, Kentucky, residents are pushing back against the industry, citing concerns around noise pollution, energy consumption, and potential health risks. Communities in states like Georgia, North Carolina, Montana, Pennsylvania and New York claim to have faced air, water, waste and noise issues from mining operations.

Critics claim that Bitcoin’s proof-of-work mining may have been responsible for 27.4 million excess tons of CO2 emissions in the U.S. from mid-2021 to 2022, threatening climate goals.

While some tout the economic benefits mining can bring to struggling areas, others argue the environmental and quality-of-life costs are too high. Texas has become a particular hotspot due to cheap energy, available land, and favorable regulations, but the industry’s explosive growth there is straining the state’s power grid.

As cryptocurrency mining continues to expand, striking a balance between its economic potential and environmental impact will be a key challenge for the rural communities where miners are putting down roots.

In Granbury, Marathon has pledged to conduct a sound study and take steps to reduce noise, like moving some computers to immersion cooling, extending sound barriers, and planting trees.

However, some remain skeptical of miners’ environmental claims—and for now, Granbury residents are left frustrated, with the verdict leaving their core issue unresolved. The case is a microcosm of a larger debate: how to balance the economic potential of Bitcoin mining with its environmental and health consequences, a question that could prove crucial to its long-term sustainability and public acceptance.

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