Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren has called on the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Energy (DOE) to force crypto miners to disclose their energy use and emissions.
In a tweet, Warren highlighted that the federal agencies have the authority to require such transparency, and it’s time for them to use it. She emphasized the need for full disclosure of how crypto mining is affecting the environment and the power grid.
Uncovering The Crypto Mining Footprint
Democratic lawmakers are pushing federal agencies to speed up their plans to require crypto mining companies to report their emissions and energy consumption.
In a letter to the EPA and DOE, Senators Elizabeth Warren, Sheldon Whitehouse, Ed Markey, Jeff Merkley, Dick Durbin, and Representatives Jared Huffman, Katie Porter, and Rashida Tlaib urged the agencies to implement a mandatory disclosure regime as soon as possible.
The letter mentioned that the agencies have “clear authority” to require such disclosures and asked for timelines on when they plan to start executing their powers.
The latest move is part of a probe initiated by Democratic lawmakers last year when they asked the largest crypto mining companies in the US to provide information on their energy consumption and pollution.
Despite some data being provided, the lawmakers were not satisfied with the incomplete responses from the companies. It led to the request for the EPA and DOE to require public disclosure of the information to get a more comprehensive understanding of the impact of crypto mining on the power grid and the environment.
According to a September report from the White House, the crypto industry in the US is estimated to use roughly as much electricity as all the nation’s home computers combined.
The report recommended that the EPA and DOE work together to develop performance standards for crypto companies to transition to clean energy and use less energy overall.
If that doesn’t work, the report suggests that the Biden Administration should explore executive actions, and Congress might consider legislation. Any potential policies would likely focus on Bitcoin, which is still the most popular and polluting cryptocurrency.
Bitcoin miners set up data farms filled with specialized hardware to solve computational puzzles, an energy-inefficient process that generates significant emissions. The miners are rewarded with new tokens, but the incentive has fallen along with Bitcoin prices.
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