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US Democrats Call for Crypto Mining Crackdown in Letter to Regulators

2 mins
Updated by Geraint Price
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In Brief

  • Six Members of Congress wrote a joint letter to the administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency over environmental threats of crypto mining.
  • Independent research by the senators revealed that miners are significantly increasing production and creating “substantial amounts of carbon emissions.”
  • Some jurisdictions like New York have proposed a two-year moratorium on proof-of-work crypto mining, while others are considering a similar move.
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Democrats in Congress have called on two federal agencies to take action on Bitcoin mining, citing increased energy consumption.

The senators voiced concerns over the increasing energy usage of the crypto mining companies, with the energy usage of the big seven firms being enough to power all the domestic residences in Houston, Texas.

This problem is compounded by the fact that each of the firms has developed elaborate plans to increase production capacity with the challenge of carbon emissions still on the table, said the concerned legislators.

Six legislators, led by Senator Elizabeth Warren, have implored Michael Regan, administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and Jennifer Granholm, the secretary of the Department of Energy, to collaborate in reining the burgeoning industry.

Democrats blame China ban for increase

The senators noted that cryptocurrency operations in the country spiked as a result of the Chinese crypto crackdown in the summer of 2021 as miners made the U.S. their new home.

“Despite these adverse impacts from crypto mining, state and federal regulators currently know little about the scope of the problem,” read the letter to the agencies.

The two agencies were urged to provide a written description of their authority to collate data from mining firms to the lawmakers before August 15.

New York has had enough already

The activities of crypto miners have had a negative effect on energy prices in New York, forcing the hand of the city to introduce the first 18-month moratorium on crypto mining operations.

A recent study from Berkeley noted that “the power demand of cryptocurrency mining operations in upstate New York pushed up annual electric bills by $165 million for small businesses.”

This is not the first time Congress has tasking Federal agencies with scrutinizing the activities of mining companies. In April, Jared Huffman and 22 other Members of Congress aired their views to the EPA over the harmful effects of crypto mining on the environment.

The letter prompted a response from Bitcoin proponents like Michael Saylor and Jack Dorsey in defense of crypto mining as they attempted to “debunk the myths”. To reduce environmental impacts, some mining firms have resorted to using coal waste, while others use flared gas to power their mining plants.

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Wahid Pessarlay
Wahid loves to write, especially about Crypto and Blockchain. He started his blogging journey in 2017 and turned to crypto in 2019. Wahid is interested in tech, chess and DeFi. He aims to promote decentralization to everyone on the planet.