February 07, 2023

Warren, Lawmakers Urge Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Energy to Require Cryptominers Disclose Emissions and Energy Use

EPA and DOE Confirmed Authority to Require Emissions and Energy Disclosures in Responses to Lawmakers

Senator Warren Revealed in July 2022 Letter to EPA and DOE that the Energy Consumption of Just Seven Cryptominers Rivals that of all the Residences in Houston, Texas

Text of Letter (PDF)
Responses from EPA and DOE to July 2022 Letter (PDF)

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Edward Markey (D-Mass.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), and Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and U.S. Representatives Jared Huffman (D-Calif.), Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), and Katie Porter (D-Calif.) sent a letter to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Department of Energy (DOE), calling on the agencies to use their statutory authorities to require reporting by cryptominers of their emissions and energy use.

“EPA and DOE are regulatory agencies that need comprehensive data to determine baselines for emissions and energy intensity, and to develop metrics and benchmarks to measure the effectiveness of environmental performance measures that are under agency consideration. This data is crucial, and your agencies should not have to rely on the good nature of the crypto or electric utility industries to obtain it,” wrote the lawmakers. “The urgency of the climate crisis, combined with the rapid growth of cryptomining in the U.S., dictates a comprehensive mandatory disclosure and data collection regime.”

The lawmakers’ new letter follows a July 2022 letter several of them sent to EPA and DOE, summarizing the findings of their investigation into the environmental impacts of cryptomining which revealed high and rapidly increasing energy use and emissions from cryptominers. The investigation found that just seven large cryptominers developed enough capacity to power all residences in Houston, Texas. In responses to the lawmakers’ July 2022 letters, EPA and DOE separately confirmed that they both have statutory authorities to require cryptominers to disclose information relating to their emissions and energy use, respectively.

Given EPA and DOE’s confirmation of their authorities to require cryptominers to report their emissions and energy use, the lawmakers are calling on the agencies to implement a mandatory energy use and emissions disclosure regime as rapidly as possible, and to answer a set of questions about their plans to do so by March 6, 2023. 

Senator Warren has led the fight to rein in crypto to protect consumers and the environment: 

  • In October 2022, Senator Warren and other lawmakers sent a letter to the Electric Reliability Council of Texas seeking information about ERCOT’s payments to cryptominers and how cryptomining is impacting climate change, the stability of the energy grid, and consumers. 
  • In July 2022, Senator Warren and her colleagues released the findings from an investigation into seven large cryptomining companies – showing extraordinarily high energy use and climate impacts from cryptomining – and called on the EPA and DOE to take action.
  • In May 2022, at a hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Senator Warren raised the importance of having additional information about the impacts of cryptomining on the environment and energy grid to Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm.
  • In January 2022, Senators Warren, Whitehouse, Merkley, Markey, and Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), and Representatives Tlaib, Huffman, and Katie Porter (D-Calif.) sent letters to six cryptomining companies raising concerns over their extraordinarily high energy usage. 
  • In December 2021, Senator Warren sent a letter to Greenidge Generation Holdings Inc., which operates a Bitcoin mining facility in upstate New York, expressing concern about the company’s energy usage and its impacts on the environment and consumers.