US lawmakers sound alarm to EPA over environment concerns of crypto mining

US lawmakers sound alarm to EPA over environment concerns of crypto mining

Jared Huffman, a member of the United States House of Representatives, and 12 other legislators have asked that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) assess crypto mining companies potentially violating environmental statutes.

Huffman wrote Wednesday to Michael Regan, EPA administrator. He stated that he and other Democratic House Members had “serious concerns about crypto firms in the United States contributing to greenhouse gas emission and not operating according to either the Clean Air Act nor the Clean Water Act. Huffman and other Democratic House members raised concerns about efforts to “reopen closed gas and coal facilities” to generate energy for crypto mining operations. They also cited “energy inefficient” proof of work mining for Bitcoin, Ether (ETH), Monero(XMR) and Zcash [ZEC].

The letter stated that “Cryptocurrency Mining is poisoning our Communities.” “The rapidly growing cryptocurrency industry must be held responsible to ensure that it operates in a sustainable, just and fair manner to protect communities.”

@RepHuffman has it right: @EPA must address the pollution caused digital currencies such as #Bitcoin. #ChangeTheCode #CleanUpBitcoin https://t.co/3WVBQxNuXQ
— EWG (@ewg), April 21, 2022

The U.S. legislators also pointed out that energy production has caused water and air pollution, as well as “significant noise pollution” in areas near communities with crypto miners in New York, Tennessee, and Georgia. Representative Brad Sherman, a member of the House who had previously called for the ban on cryptocurrency in the United States, and Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, a progressive lawmaker signed the letter to support action against mining companies.

Regan was informed in a letter that “we request that the EPA assess PoW mining facilities’ compliance environmental statutes, like the Clean Air Act or the Clean Water Act, engage with communities when reviewing permits,” he said. “We ask that the EPA investigate any harm these PoW facilities cause to communities, including, but not restricted to, ensuring electronic waste is properly disposed of and that noise pollution is reduced.”

“As cryptocurrency gains popularity and more people mine it, we need to ensure that communities don’t suffer the harmful effects of this technology.”

Related: Are we misinformed about Bitcoin mining’s environmental impact? Slush Pool CMO Kristian Csepcsar explains

There is still much debate about the energy requirements of cryptocurrency miners among U.S. policymakers and others. Bloomberg reported that ExxonMobil, an oil and gas company, had used excess gas from North Dakota oil wells to power Bitcoin miners in a pilot program which began in January 2021. A petition to stop operations of mining company Greenidge Generation in New York was also dismissed by a New York state supreme Court judge. The judge stated that organizations failed to show residents would be affected by the company’s expansion.

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