US House Democrats Call for Scrutiny on Crypto Mining as Environmental Threat

Rep. Huffman and other congressional Democrats wrote the EPA chief on the potential harm to the climate and environment.

AccessTimeIconApr 21, 2022 at 3:44 p.m. UTC
Updated Apr 10, 2024 at 1:59 a.m. UTC

U.S. Rep. Jared Huffman (D-Calif.), who leads a subcommittee within the House of Representatives’ Natural Resources Committee, has recruited almost two dozen Democratic colleagues to urge federal environmental officials to devote further scrutiny to the consequences of cryptocurrency mining.

“We have serious concerns regarding reports that cryptocurrency facilities across the country are polluting communities and are having an outsized contribution to greenhouse gas emissions,” according to the letter, signed by lawmakers including Brad Sherman and Jamaal Bowman of California; Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York; and Jesús G. "Chuy" García and Marie Newman of Illinois. “People living near crypto mining facilities are already suffering the effects of air, water and noise pollution from these facilities.”

In the letter sent this week to Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Michael Regan, Huffman – also a member of the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis – praised President Joe Biden’s recent executive order calling for deeper understanding of crypto’s climate effects and supporting cleaner technologies.

“A single bitcoin transaction could power the average U.S. household for a month,” the lawmakers’ letter noted. “According to estimates by researchers, bitcoin produces annually carbon emissions comparable to Greece.”

The Democrats encouraged the further consideration of proof-of-stake mining technology as potentially having “99.99% lower energy demands” to validate transactions.


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Jesse Hamilton

Jesse Hamilton is CoinDesk's deputy managing editor for global policy and regulation. He doesn't hold any crypto.