Congressional Democrats are calling on the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Energy to address the recent spread of cryptocurrency mining in the US. In a shipped Friday (via ), Senator Elizabeth Warren and five other lawmakers said the two agencies should work together to require crypto mining companies to disclose their energy consumption and emissions.
The request comes after the group recently completed one and started at the beginning of the year. According to the letter, data collected from seven of the largest mining companies in the US, including Stronghold, Bitfury and Riot, indicate that they can collectively use more than 1 gigawatt of electricity. In other words, that’s almost enough to power all residential buildings in Houston.
Warren and the other lawmakers say they are concerned about what all that power consumption will mean for the environment and consumers. With regard to the former, they state that emissions data from three of the companies surveyed indicates that they emit about 1.6 million tons of CO2 annually, or the equivalent of the tailpipe emissions of nearly 360,000 cars. “Bitcoin miners use massive amounts of electricity that can be used for other priority end-uses that contribute to our electrification and climate goals, such as replacing home ovens with heat pumps,” the letter states.
On the latter point, lawmakers cite a 2021 study of New York State’s estimated crypto mining company that increased annual electricity bills by about $165 million for small businesses and $79 million for consumers. Moreover, they say that their research does not even reveal the full impact of crypto mining on power consumption and emissions in the US. “None of the companies provided full and complete information in response to our inquiries,” they note.
“The results of our study, which collected data from just seven companies, are troubling, as this limited data alone reveals that cryptominers are major energy consumers responsible for a significant – and rapidly growing – amount of carbon emissions,” the letter states. . By requiring crypto mining companies to disclose their energy use and emissions, the group says the EPA and the Department of Energy can provide lawmakers with better data to inform future policy decisions. The agencies have until August 15 to respond to the request.
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