Environmental Groups Call on US Government to Implement Stringent Bitcoin Mining Regulations

Local and national activists are banding together to limit what they consider are the industry's adverse effects on the environment.

May 10, 2022 at 6:07 p.m. UTC
Updated May 12, 2022 at 1:42 p.m. UTC

Eliza Gkritsi is CoinDesk's crypto mining reporter based in Asia.

A group of national and local non-governmental organizations (NGO) are calling on the Biden administration and U.S. state authorities to implement regulations to curb the impact of bitcoin (BTC) mining on local communities and ecosystems.

  • A letter sent to the White House on Tuesday is calling for a series of policies that will combat what the groups see as the adverse effects on communities hosting bitcoin miners including environmental degradation, noise pollution, electricity price hikes and hogging renewable energy resources.
  • The letter calls on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to implement stringent reviews on proof-of-work (PoW) mining operations; the Office of Management and Budget to create a registry of PoW miners to improve the industry's transparency; the Department of Energy to institute energy efficiency standards for PoW operations, study how to implement power density limits and how to protect "low-cost public power allocations" from being "siphoned" to PoW mining operations "at the expense of local ratepayers"; and financial regulators to require greater transparency on miners' electricity use and climate pollution, limits on their environmental impact and fight "misleading claims" of bitcoin mining's environmental impact.
  • The letter was signed by Environmental Working Group and Greenpeace, which are also leading an advertising campaign to change bitcoin's code to proof-of-stake (PoS). The ad campaign is funded by Ripple co-founder Chris Larsen.
  • Also signing the letter were Earthjustice, the Sierra Club and Seneca Lake Guardian. The latter two groups have gone to court a number of times to shut down Greenidge Generation's (GREE) bitcoin mine in New York.
  • In addition, the League of Conservation Voters, Friends of the Earth and the Milwaukee Riverkeeper signed the letter.
  • The groups have also appealed to state regulators for similar laws and regulations, a representative for the coalition said during a press conference on Tuesday.
  • Representatives of local NGOs and communities from New York, West Virginia, South Carolina, Pennsylvania, Georgia and Kentucky were at at the press conference.

UPDATE (May 12 15:40 UTC): Earthjustice, the Sierra Club and Seneca Lake Guardian are not involved in the ad campaign funded by Chris Larsen. They did, however, sign the letter to the Biden administration.

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Eliza Gkritsi is CoinDesk's crypto mining reporter based in Asia.

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Eliza Gkritsi is CoinDesk's crypto mining reporter based in Asia.

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