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US Senator Elizabeth Warren Leads the Charge to Learn More About Crypto Mining Energy Usage – Regulation Incoming?

Fredrik Vold
Last updated: | 2 min read
Elizabeth Warren. Source: A video screenshot, YouTube/Bloomberg Politics

Elizabeth Warren, the Democratic Senator who is known as a fierce crypto critic, is now part of an effort by lawmakers to learn more about the energy use of crypto mining.

The new initiative aims to increase the transparency requirements for crypto mining companies, particularly when it comes to the potential for pollution and emission of greenhouse gasses from their activities, according to letters shared with the media.

The letters were signed by Democratic Senators Elizabeth Warren, Sheldon Whitehouse, Ed Markey, Jeff Merkley, and Dick Durbin, as well as Representatives Jared Huffman, Katie Porter, and Rashida Tlaib.

Information should be disclosed to federal agencies

The lawmakers also noted in the documents that federal agencies have the authority to force crypto-mining companies to disclose how much energy is used in their operations, as well as how much greenhouse gases they emit.

It is this authority that the Democratic lawmakers now want the government agencies to use.

The new push comes after the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) earlier told lawmakers that it has the authority to collect pollution data from companies that emit more than 25,000 tons of CO2 annually under the Clean Air Act.

Judging from the new letters, however, lawmakers now want to know if the EPA has already listed all of these companies. And if not, when it plans to do so.

The information was revealed in letters between the Senators and public agencies that were obtained by the publication The Verge.

Senator Huffman also shared the news on Twitter, where he added that the Biden Administration should “make sure [crypto mining] companies are being transparent about their emissions and exactly how much energy they use.”

The matter is seen as particularly important now by some US politicians, given the large influx of mining companies to the US since the ban on crypto mining in China, they argued. In October of 2021, researchers at Cambridge University found that the US had become the largest Bitcoin mining hub in the world after a massive miner exodus from China.

Long history criticizing crypto

Senator Warren has a long history with criticizing Bitcoin and the broader crypto industry, and has in the past taken aim at “rogue nations” she claimed are using crypto to “evade sanctions and finance terrorism.”

The same senator has also previously asked the major financial services firm Fidelity to reconsider offering workplace retirement plans with bitcoin exposure.

“The digital asset industry has only grown more volatile, tumultuous, and chaotic—all features of an asset class no plan sponsor or person saving for retirement should want to go anywhere near,” Warren, along with fellow Democratic senators Richard Durbin and Tina Smith, wrote in a letter sent to Fidelity CEO Abigail Johnson in November last year.