Washington County commissioners learned Thursday that it will be a year before the county gets its day in court regarding a zoning lawsuit involving a bitcoin mining operation in Limestone.
County Attorney Allyson Wilkinson told commissioners that the Washington County Chancery Court has set a trial date in February 2024 to hear litigation the county has filed against BrightRidge and Red Dog Technologies.
Wilkinson said the case is scheduled to be heard in a three-day trial, beginning on Feb. 5, 2024.
The commission voted late last year to reject a final draft of a settlement framework that called for Red Dog to move its bitcoin mining operation to the Washington County Industrial Park.
The dispute first surfaced in July 2021 when residents in the Bailey Bridge Road area appeared before commissioners to voice their concerns about the constant noise coming from fans used to cool the computers that are essential to the bitcoin operation.
Commissioners decided in November that the final settlement was substantially different from the draft agreement they had approved just months before.
That agreement called for Red Dog to cease its operations at its current Bailey Bridge Road blockchain data operation by Dec. 31, 2024, and relocate to a 7-acre tract that the company would purchase in the Telford industrial park.
In June, commissioners approved a draft framework also requiring Red Dog to pay the county penalties for its operations in Limestone for a period dating back to September 2021, as well as a $500 penalty for each day it continued to operate the bitcoin mine at its current location.
That deal would have required BrightRidge to “energize” Red Dog’s new operation in the industrial park, at which point the data company is expected to cease all bitcoin mining at the Bailey Bridge Road site within six months.
Commissioners voted to reject the settlement deal in November after hearing from Telford residents opposed to the agreement.
Randy Gilliam, a retired pastor who helped organize a group that collected more 2,500 signatures of county residents opposed to Red Dog, told commissioners they were setting a “precedent here and worldwide” regarding the placement of future bitcoin mining operations.