Lawmakers are concerned about the impact of cryptocurrency mining on the environment

US congressmen call for miners to be required to disclose their energy consumption

18.07.2022 - 10:25

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2 min

What’s new? Members of the US Senate and House of Representatives have sent a letter to the Department of Energy (DOE) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) asking them to require miners to report information about emissions and energy consumption. Officials said that they had little data on the scale of miners’ activities, so it was crucial that the agencies work together. They noted the problem of the environmental impact of cryptocurrency mining and called on the DOE and EPA to use all available powers, such as section 114 of the Clean Air Act.

Link to the letter

What else does the letter say? Congressmen have asked for clarification on whether regulators can require energy disclosure. Such a question became relevant after the Supreme Court’s recent decision limiting the EPA’s authority to regulate greenhouse gas emissions by power plants.

Legislators also published written responses from seven miners that they have asked to provide information on energy consumption. The letter to regulators reports that none of the companies provided comprehensive data.

Written response from mining companies

According to the information gathered by lawmakers, cryptocurrency mining companies use a total of 1045 MW and plan to increase the figure by 2399 MW in the next few years. Congress members called these results “disturbing” and said that miners account for a significant and rapidly growing amount of carbon dioxide emissions.

The group that sent the letter to regulators includes Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren. She and colleague Tina Smith previously criticized Fidelity’s initiative to invest retirement savings in bitcoin. In April, she compared the situation in the cryptocurrency industry to the mortgage market bubble that preceded the 2007-2008 crisis and noted that digital assets would sooner or later be regulated by the government.

In early June, the New York State Senate approved a ban on fossil fuel-based cryptocurrency mining. The initiative aims to reduce a “comprehensive generic environmental impact.” In the same month, the Swedish Central Bank called for a ban on bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies using the Proof of Work (PoW) consensus algorithm because of their negative impact on the environment.

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