Bitcoin mining has been a topic of environmental concern for regulators and lawmakers across the globe. Recently, the media reported that the United States Democratic lawmakers are focussing on vetting energy requirements by crypto mining companies.
As per the reports, the Democrats are intensifying their efforts for crypto mining companies to reveal their energy use and greenhouse gas emissions as the industry grows. The lawmakers are pushing federal agencies to take action in forcing mining companies involved in assets like Bitcoin to reveal the necessary data on energy consumption.
Sources reveal that the lawmakers have written a letter to the Department of Energy (DOE) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to accelerate their plans to require crypto-mining companies to report their energy consumption and emissions.
The letter states that the agencies can require disclosures from crypto-mining firms. It also asks for a timeline for each agency’s plans to use its authority and begin collecting the necessary information. The letter read:
We urge you to use those authorities to implement a mandatory disclosure regime as rapidly as possible.
Notably, the letter addressed to the DoE was signed by Senators Elizabeth Warren, Sheldon Whitehouse, Ed Markey, Jeff Merkley, Dick Durbin, and Representatives Jared Huffman, Katie Porter, and Rashida Tlaib.
Also, it is important to note that the EPA had initially informed lawmakers that under the Clean Air Act, it has the authority to collect pollution data from facilities emitting at least 25,000 tons of carbon dioxide annually. The Clean Air Act is the United States’ primary federal air quality law to reduce and control air pollution nationwide.
Additionally, in the letter to the agencies, the lawmakers requested the EPA to clarify if all crypto operations adhering to the 25,000-ton limit are listed and their plans. Apparently, two crypto mining companies have been found to fall under this category and already report their annual emissions. The deadline for the same has been kept as March 6.
The lawmakers’ letter to the agencies is seen as the latest development in a campaign that started last year in August when the lawmakers asked the largest crypto mining companies to provide certain information.
The lawmakers, namely Frank Pallone, Bobby Rush, Diana DeGette, and Paul Tonko, asked the companies to provide information beginning in 2021 about the energy consumption of their mining facilities, the source of that energy, what percentage came from renewable energy sources, and how frequently the firms curtailed operations in letters dated Wednesday to Core Scientific, Marathon Digital Holdings, Riot Blockchain, and Stronghold Digital Mining.
While some data was provided, the companies still needed to respond entirely to the lawmakers’ questions, leading to the request for the DOE and EPA to enforce mandatory disclosure. Simultaneously, the impact of Bitcoin mining on the environment has been a primary focus of the country as it moves towards regulating the sector.
In October last year, Senator Elizabeth Warren and six other US senators asked for data on the energy use and potential environmental effects of Texas-based bitcoin mining facilities. The senators expressed their concerns about the possibility that mining operations could put additional strain on the state’s power grid in a letter to Pablo Vegas, CEO of the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), referring to Texas as a “deregulated safe harbor” for cryptocurrency mining companies.