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US Legislators Call for Greater Transparency on Crypto Mining Emissions – Regulation Incoming?

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US lawmakers have expressed intentions to reintroduce a bill that would require crypto mining companies to disclose emissions data for operations that use more than five megawatts of electrical power.

On Friday, United States Senator Edward Markey and Representative Jared Huffman revealed intentions to reintroduce the Crypto-Asset Environmental Transparency Act in Congress in a bid to promote greater transparency around crypto mining and its environmental impacts. 

The bill was initially put forward in December 2020 during the last Congressional session, with Sen. Jeff Merkley acting as its cosponsor in the Senate.

More specifically, the bill would require crypto mining companies to disclose emissions for operations that consume more than 5 megawatts of power or "multiple crypto-asset mining facilities that are owned by the same company and each have a power load that is less than 5 megawatts; but have a cumulative power load that is greater than or equal to 5 megawatts."

Moreover, the bill would require the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to head up an interagency investigation of the impact of crypto mining in the United States. That investigation would have a $5 million budget and publish its findings within 18 months of the passage of the bill.

In a press release, Senator Markey listed 16 public organizations that support the bill, including such groups as the Sierra Club, Greenpeace USA, Food and Water Watch, and National Stop Crypto Coalition. He said in a comment:

"While we’re working together as a nation to face down an existential crisis that puts the health and safety of our people and our planet in jeopardy, crypto miners are sucking megawatt after megawatt from our public grids and emitting skyrocketing greenhouse gasses, just so they can make a buck for themselves."

Markey will soon chair a meeting of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee’s Subcommittee on Clean Air and Nuclear Safety. That meeting will be “focused on the urgent need to crack down on the growing environmental impacts of cryptomining,” he said. 

US Crypto Crackdown Intensifies

The new bill seeking to bring regulations to crypto mining comes as US lawmakers have recently ramped up efforts to regulate the crypto industry in the wake of some high-profile failures last year. 

The SEC, in particular, has been cracking down on crypto companies. In early February, the agency reached an agreement with crypto exchange Kraken to stop offering staking services or programs to clients in the country and pay $30 million in fines. 

Furthermore, the commission has threatened Paxos, a US-registered firm that issues Binance’s stablecoin Binance USD (BUSD), with legal action due to its issuance of BUSD tokens. The agency argued that BUSD is considered an unregistered security.

There have also been global efforts to introduce a comprehensive crypto regulatory framework. As reported, the International Monetary Fund and the United States have shown support for India's plan to coordinate global crypto regulation during the recent G20 meeting.