United States Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Michael Regan and Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm were the recipients Feb. 6 of another letter on the environmental impact of cryptocurrency mining. Eight Democratic lawmakers headed by Elizabeth Warren reached out to the officials this time.
The eight lawmakers acknowledged previous replies to official correspondence asking about the agencies’ information-gathering authority as it relates to energy used in crypto mining. Now they have followed up with a series of questions on practical matter relating to information gathering and the use of the information they receive. They wrote:
“The urgency of the climate crisis, combined with the rapid growth of cryptomining in the U.S., dictates a comprehensive mandatory disclosure and data collection regime. We therefore urge your agencies to work together to address the lack of information about cryptomining’s energy use and environmental impacts and require mandatory reporting of this information from cryptominers as rapidly as possible.”
The authors of the letter – Senate Banking Committee member Warren, along with Senators Sheldon Whitehouse, Edward Markey and Jeff Merkley, as well as Representatives Jared Huffman, Rashida Tlaib, Katie Porter and Richard Durbin – also asked about Energy Department outreach for its Energy Star program and possible technical assistance from the department for communities considering hosting crypto miners. They gave the addressees until March 6 to respond.
Warren is a vociferous critic of the cryptocurrency industry who has also written to U.S. Securities and Exchange commissioner Gary Gensler about that agency’s authority to regulate crypto and to acting Comptroller of the Currency Michael Hsu asking him to withdraw guidance for banks on handling crypto and join in an interdepartmental regulatory effort.
Regan has received other letters from lawmakers regarding cryptocurrency. After receiving a letter last year critical of crypto signed by Huffman and 22 other lawmakers, another 14 members of Congress sent him a letter supporting the crypto industry.