US Lawmakers Call for More Oversight of Cryptocurrency’s Environmental Impacts – Representative Jared Huffman (D-CA) and 22 other members of Congress wrote to EPA Administrator Michael Regan on Wednesday to express their concerns about bitcoin mining activities.
The House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Water, Oceans, and Wildlife is chaired by the California congressman. He’s also a member of the House of Representatives’ Climate Crisis Select Committee.
The letter, according to Rep. Huffman’s office, calls for “more monitoring of cryptocurrency’s environmental repercussions.” In their letter, the legislators stated the following:
“We are concerned about allegations that bitcoin exchanges affect communities and contribute adversely to overall greenhouse gas emissions.”
According to the lawmakers, Proof-of-Work (PoW) mining produces “significant greenhouse gas emissions” and “results in huge electronic waste issues because of specialized and short-lived computing hardware needed to safeguard the network.” “The industry must be held accountable for this trash, and it must be prohibited from producing it.”
“Less energy-intensive crypto mining technologies, such as ‘Proof-of-Stake’ (PoS), are available,” the Congress members added.
“It is critical that the EPA use these responsibilities to properly protect communities across the United States that are being disrupted by these crypto facilities,” the legislators said, noting that towns near cryptocurrency mining sites “have experienced considerable noise pollution.”
They came to the following conclusion:
“We request that the EPA investigate whether ‘Proof-of-Work’ mining operations comply with environmental standards such as the Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act, as well as consult with communities when contemplating licensing.”
“Furthermore, we request that the Environmental Protection Agency examine and repair any harm that these current PoW facilities are bringing to communities,” the legislators said.
Many of the concerns about bitcoin’s negative effects on the environment have been refuted. Bitcoin mining, for example, is net positive for the environment, according to Ark Invest, and worries about the cryptocurrency’s energy consumption are unfounded. In May of last year, Galaxy Digital released a paper demonstrating that the banking system consumes substantially more energy than bitcoin.
According to a survey published by Coinshares in January, bitcoin mining infrastructure accounts for 0.08 percent of the world’s carbon dioxide emissions today. The company went on to say that “energy usage is a disputed and frequently misinterpreted aspect of the Bitcoin monetary system.”