Twenty-three U.S. lawmakers called on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to increase oversight of the environmental impact of cryptocurrencies. “We are asking the EPA to assess the compliance of Proof-of-Work mining facilities with environmental laws,” they said.
Lawmakers want more oversight of the bitcoin mining industry
On Wednesday, U.S. Representative Jared Huffman (D-CA) and 22 other members of Congress jointly sent a letter to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Michael Regan regarding cryptocurrency mining operations.
The California congressman is chairman of the U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittee on Water, Oceans and Wildlife. He is also a member of the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis.
The letter calls for “increased oversight of the environmental impact of cryptocurrencies,” Representative Huffman’s office said Thursday. In their letter, lawmakers described:
We have serious concerns about reports that cryptocurrency facilities across the country are polluting the environment and contributing excessively to greenhouse gas emissions.
Among other claims, lawmakers argued that Proof-of-Work (PoW) mining contributes to “significant greenhouse gas emissions” and “leads to serious e-waste problems due to the highly specialized and short-lived computing equipment needed to secure the network.” They stressed, “The industry must be held accountable for this waste and weaned from creating it.”
The members of Congress also noted that “there are less energy-intensive cryptocurrency mining technologies, such as Proof-of-Stake (PoS).”
Noting that communities around cryptocurrency mining facilities “report significant noise pollution,” the lawmakers emphasized that “it is critical that EPA use this authority to adequately protect communities across the United States that are disrupted by these cryptocurrency facilities.” They concluded:
We demand that EPA evaluate the compliance of Proof-of-Work mining facilities with environmental laws such as the Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act, and engage with communities when reviewing permits.
“In addition, we are asking EPA to investigate and remedy any harm these existing PoW facilities cause to the public,” the lawmakers added.
Many claims about bitcoin’s environmental impact have been refuted. Ark Invest, for example, has repeatedly explained that bitcoin mining is positive for the environment and that concerns about the cryptocurrency’s energy consumption are wrong. Moreover, Galaxy Digital published a report last May showing that the banking system consumes significantly more energy than bitcoin.
In January, Coinshares published a report stating that bitcoin mining infrastructure now accounts for 0.08% of global carbon production. The company went on to note that “energy use is a controversial and misunderstood function of the bitcoin monetary system.”
Earlier this month, famed investor Kevin O’Leary stated that “bitcoin mining will save the world.”
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