The Department of Energy (DOE) and the Environmental Agency (EPA) should require cryptocurrency miners to report their emissions and energy use, a group of U.S. Senators and Representatives said in a recent letter to the two federal agencies.
The July 15 letter, which was sent by Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) and Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) and Representatives Jared Huffman (D-Calif.) and Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), also highlighted findings from an investigation into the environmental impacts of cryptocurrency mining.
They noted that the cryptocurrency market has grown exponentially since first introduced over a decade ago. “Mining operations for Bitcoin, the largest cryptocurrency by market cap, are increasingly moving onshore, with the United States’ share of global mining increasing from 4 percent in August 2019 to nearly 38 percent in January 2022,” the letter said.
The lawmakers wrote to seven of the largest cryptomining operations in the U.S. seeking information about the locations of their facilities, their energy sources and consumption, and the climate impacts associated with this production.
“The results of our investigation, which gathered data from just seven companies, are disturbing, with this limited data alone revealing that cryptominers are large energy users that account for a significant – and rapidly growing – amount of carbon emissions,” the lawmakers said in their letter.
“Our investigation suggests that the overall U.S. cryptomining industry is likely to be problematic for energy and emissions,” they asserted. “But little is known about the full scope of cryptomining activity.”
The lawmakers said that “it is imperative that your agencies work together to address the lack of information about cryptomining’s energy use and environmental impacts, and use all available authorities at your disposal” to require reporting of energy use and emissions from cryptominers.