Warren Targets Crypto Miners Over “Disturbing” Energy Consumption

Congressional Democrats, led by the vocal anti-crypto crusader Senator Elizabeth Warren, have sent a letter to the Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Energy, urging the two agencies to create rules requiring crypto miners to report their energy use and emissions data.

Warren Targets Crypto Miners Over “Disturbing” Energy Consumption
Photo: Tom Williams/Pool/Reuters

Key Takeaways

  • Senator Elizabeth Warren is leading a regulatory push to have U.S.-based crypto miners report their energy use and carbon emissions data.
  • On Friday, she and five other Congressional Democrats sent a letter to the Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Energy, asking the agencies to consider imposing reporting requirements on crypto miners.
  • The lawmakers said that federal intervention was necessary because the miner's energy use and carbon emissions were "disturbing."

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Senator Elizabeth Warren has called out the crypto industry yet again. This time, U.S.-based cryptocurrency miners are in her crosshairs.

Warren Pushes for Crypto Miner Reporting Requirements

Senator Elizabeth Warren and five other Democratic Congress members have sent a letter asking the Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Energy to impose energy and carbon emissions reporting requirements on crypto mining companies.

In the letter sent to the two agencies Friday, the fervently anti-crypto Massachusetts senator and the other Democratic lawmakers shared information concerning their recent investigation into the supposed environmental impacts of cryptocurrency mining. The lawmakers gathered data from the seven largest crypto mining companies in the U.S. and concluded that the miners had a “major impact on climate change.” As a result, they argued, “federal intervention is necessary.”

“The results of our investigation, which gathered data from just seven companies, are disturbing,” the lawmakers wrote, adding that the crypto miners are “large energy users that account for a significant—and rapidly growing—amount of carbon emissions.” According to the Warren-led investigation, the seven companies alone had developed over 1,045 MW capacity for cryptocurrency mining. This equates to almost enough energy to power every residency in Houston, Texas, the letter noted. 

Notably, the letter featured incomplete data voluntarily provided by the seven mining firms, as well as mainstream media articles and data based on widely debunked studies. Nonetheless, the Congress members argued that the results of their research called for a need to clamp down on the controversial mining sector.

To address the environmental concerns outlined in the letter, the lawmakers have proposed imposing more stringent reporting requirements on cryptocurrency miners. Specifically, the lawmakers asked the Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Energy to work together and use all available authorities at their disposal to require U.S.-based mining companies to report on their energy use and emissions. According to the letter, this collected data would better inform future policy-making and allow for better modeling of national and regional grid loads and transitions.

This isn’t the first time Senator Warren has called for a more heavy-handed approach toward the crypto industry. In a July 2021 CNBC interview, Warren memorably riled crypto enthusiasts when she compared digital assets like Bitcoin to drugs and snake oil and called for an urgent regulatory crackdown on the market. Later that month, she sent a letter to the SEC, asking the securities regulator to confront the potential risks of cryptocurrency and act more decisively to protect investors.

Disclosure: At the time of writing, the author of this article owned ETH and several other cryptocurrencies.

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