NORTH TONAWANDA, N.Y. -- Neighbors of the Digihost crypto mining operation in North Tonawanda said they are burdened by constant noise from the plant, similar to living next to a busy airport or Niagara Falls.

Resident Mark Polito said it keeps him, his guest and even pets from spending extended periods outside and is worse at night.

"I can go out into my backyard and the noise is just roaring like you would not believe and it literally can penetrate the walls into the house as I sit and watch tv," Polito said.

Environmental activists said the noise is just one of a handful of problems that began when Digihost purchased the power plant from Fortistar and began using powerful computers to solve complex equations and release new digital currency. In order to generate the power necessary, they said the company is burning fracked gas and creating large and expanding levels of greenhouse gas emissions, contributing to climate change and air pollution.

"In just the first few months of this year in fact, Digihost greenhouse gas emissions surpassed their total emissions of the past two years combined. Firing up a methane gas facility for BitCoin mining flies in the face of the New York State climate goals," North Tonawanda Climate Smart Task Force Chair Deborah Gondek said.

A 2022 moratorium currently bans the state Department of Environmental Conservation from renewing or approving permits for crypto mining operations. However, Digihost purchased the already exisiting Fortistar facility after the previous owner had applied for an air permit and as a result the state has allowed it to operate under the expired one. Environmentalists said there is nothing to prohibit the DEC from rejecting an application and it did reject one and twice uphold its decision, including as recently as last month, in a similar situation in the Finger Lakes.

"We need action now," Jessamine De Ocampo, Earthjustice Clean Energy Program associate attorney, said. "The DEC must stop sitting on Digihost and Fortistar's air permit application as it has done for the past three years."

The city administration is also looking at potential options to shut down the operation, including its own proposed moratorium and will host a public meeting next month. On Thursday, the plant was quiet but residents suspected it was because the company knew media would be around.

"I invite anybody who does not believe that we here this noise and our complaints. Come to my house at midnight tonight," Polito challenged. "As long as these guys are cranking up you will here a noise you won't believe."

In a statement, the DEC said it has not deemed the Fortistar renewal application to be complete. It said it is reviewing the application, including responses to two Notices of Incomplete Application.

As part of its review, DEC will determine whether the proposed renewal is consistent with the requirements of the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act.