On Friday, United States Senator Edward Markey and Representative Jared Huffman announced that they would reintroduce the Crypto-Asset Environmental Transparency Act before the lawmakers.
This move comes ahead of a Senate hearing on the environmental impact of crypto mining scheduled for March 7 and will be chaired by Markey. Markey and Huffman had first introduced the bill in the previous session of Congress i.e. in December. Senator Jeff Merkley acted as a co-sponsor in the Senate.
Sources reveal that the Senator’s bill would mandate any crypto mining firm consuming more than 5 megawatts of power to disclose emissions for operations and require the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to head up an interagency investigation of the impact of crypto mining in the United States.
The Environmental Protection Agency is an independent executive agency of the United States federal government tasked with environmental protection matters. That investigation would have a $5 million budget and publish its findings within 18 months of the passage of the bill.
In the announcement, Markey also listed 16 public organizations that support the bill, including groups like the Sierra Club, Greenpeace USA, and the National Stop Crypto Coalition. As per his statement:
Crypto miners are sucking megawatt after megawatt from our public grids and emitting skyrocketing greenhouse gasses, just so they can make a buck for themselves. We can’t afford to let this industry run roughshod over our communities any longer.
Markey will soon chair a meeting of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee’s Subcommittee on Clean Air and Nuclear Safety. He said that the meeting will be “focused on the urgent need to crack down on the growing environmental impacts of crypto mining.”
Democrats have been cautious regarding the energy consumption by crypto mining activities. In February, Markey and Huffman were one of those Democratic lawmakers who wrote a letter to EPA Administrator Michael Regan and Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm asking that their agencies “work together to address the lack of information about crypto mining’s energy use and environmental impacts.”
Not just that, they also signed a letter to the CEO of the Electric Reliability Council of Texas asking for information on crypto mining’s energy usage and environmental impact in Texas. Senator Elizabeth Warren was the lead author of both letters.
While Bitcoin mining has been a concern for regulators across the globe, lawmakers in the US have dedicated a significant amount of time to it. The American authorities have also found themselves divided over their views of mining activities in their jurisdiction and over cryptocurrencies in general.
Given the high availability of electricity in Texas, several notable figures have welcomed the idea of development in the state. The governor of New Hampshire also opined that the mining activities would help in stabilising the electricity grid. On the other hand, regions like New York have been strictly against mining activities and announced a ban on mining in November.