A California congressman and two dozen colleagues have asked the Environmental Protection Agency to explore the environmental impact of crypto miners — companies that use computers to maintain the blockchains that underlie cryptocurrencies.
“We write to request that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) ensure cryptocurrency
mining facilities are not violating foundational environmental statutes like the Clean Air Act or
the Clean Water Act. We have serious concerns regarding reports that cryptocurrency facilities
across the country are polluting communities and are having an outsized contribution to greenhouse gas emissions,” the letter stated. Its lead author is Jared Huffman, a Democrat whose district hugs the California coast from San Francisco to the Oregon border.
The letter continued: “The rapidly expanding cryptocurrency industry needs to be held accountable to ensure it operates in a sustainable and just manner to protect communities.”
The lawmakers state that efforts are underway to reopen power plants that burned coal or natural gas so they can provide electricity for crypto-mining computers.
The lawmakers train their fire specifically on cryptocurrencies that require proof-of-work to authorize transactions. According to the letter, among those cryptocurrencies are
Bitcoin, Ethereum, Monero and Zcash.
“A single Bitcoin transaction could power the average U.S. household for a month,” the letter stated, and carbon emission from Bitcoin mining rival Greece’s.
Cryptocurrency mining farms also create significant noise pollution, the letter said.
Co-signers include U.S. Reps. Alan Lowenthal; Jesús G. “Chuy” García; Rashida Tlaib; Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez; Brad Sherman; Diana DeGette; Jamaal Bowman; Donald McEachin; John P. Sarbanes; Marie Newman; Kathy Castor; Dina Titus; Andre Carson; Mark Takano; Bobby L. Rush; Adriano Espaillat; Jerry McNerney; Steve Cohen; Jan Schakowsky; James P. McGovern; Mark DeSaulnier and Mary Gay Scanlon.