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Texas Miners’ Lawsuit Spurs EIA to Temporarily Halt Bitcoin Miner Survey

Shalini Nagarajan
Last updated: | 1 min read
Bitcoin miner survey
Source: Midjourney

A US judge has temporarily halted the Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) attempt to enforce a mandatory survey on Bitcoin miners.

Judge Alan Albright said on Friday that the EIA cannot compel the Texas Blockchain Council or its members to answer the survey. The order also blocks the agency from any data collection or sharing, even of information already received, for four weeks.

While the restraining order was issued, EIA Administrator Joseph DeCarolis indicated the agency would voluntarily halt the survey.

He outlined the agency’s decision to willingly suspend enforcement of the Bitcoin miner survey until March 22 in a separate notice. This also includes a commitment not to penalize anyone who fails to respond before March 25.

EIA’s Offer Falls Short, Judge Albright Says

Despite the Administrator’s offer to delay enforcement, Judge Albright said a simple declaration isn’t enough.

“The declaration fails to bind all defendants, does not remove the credible threat of enforcement from other defendants (or the EIA after March 25), and does not address plaintiffs’ alleged costs of compliance with the survey,” he said.

“The court is also concerned that that the declaration lacks any enforcement mechanism in the event the EIA Administrator chooses not to honor the terms set forth in his declarations.”

Texas Blockchain Council, Riot Allege Unlawful Data Collection

The development comes after the Texas Blockchain Council (TBC) and crypto miner Riot Platforms sued the EIA last week. They alleged that the agency’s new mandatory survey constitutes unlawful data collection from the industry.

It came after the EIA said it would begin gathering information on the electricity usage of specific US-based crypto miners, starting early February.

This mandate applies specifically to commercial miners, who are required to disclose their energy consumption. The decision to implement this requirement came after receiving emergency approval for data collection from the Office of Management and Budget on Jan. 26.

EIA’s ‘Emergency’ Approval of Bitcoin Miner Survey is Legally Insufficient, TBC Says

TBC also expressed worry that this private data might become public, possibly resulting in more scrutiny on the industry, as hinted by past statements from The White House.

Among its concerns, the TBC said the emergency request and the survey were “legally deficient.” The council questioned EIA’s “emergency” approval, seeing it as bypassing necessary public safeguards, which it deemed unreasonable.