US lawmakers urge EPA to consider the potential benefits of crypto mining

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A group of 14 United States senators and House representatives have signed a letter to the Environmental Protection Agency extolling what they believe are the benefits of crypto mining.

In a Thursday letter, many U.S. lawmakers including pro-Bitcoin Senator Cynthia Lummis and Representative Tom Emmer addressed EPA administrator Michael Regan, requesting the government agency analyze the potential impact of crypto mining in an effort to balance innovation with environmental concerns. The group of 14 senators and representatives claimed mining could have a “substantial stabilizing effect on energy grids” and cited examples of mining operations using flared gas and renewable energy sources.

“Digital assets, and their related mining activities, are essential to the economic future of the United States,” said the letter. “Favoring one technology over another, including proof-of-work versus proof-of-stake, can stifle innovation, erode future economic gains, and limit affiliated efficiencies.”

In addition to Lummis and Emmer, the lawmakers who signed the letter were all members of the Republican Party, including Senators Bill Hagerty, Kevin Cramer, and Steve Daines. House Representatives Patrick McHenry, Pete Sessions, Bill Posey, Bill Huizenga, Andy Barr, Anthony Gonzales, Brian Steil, William Timmons, and Ralph Norman also approved the message to EPA administrator Regan.

The Republicans’ request to Regan stood in contrast to an April letter to the EPA from a bipartisan group of 22 lawmakers. They raised “serious concerns” around crypto firms operating in the United States, claiming that the companies contributed to greenhouse gas emissions and were not operating in accordance with either the Clean Air Act or the Clean Water Act.

“Cryptocurrency mining is poisoning our communities,” said the April letter to Regan. “The rapidly expanding cryptocurrency industry needs to be held accountable to ensure it operates in a sustainable and just manner to protect communities.”

Related: Eager to work: Bitcoin switch to proof-of-stake remains unlikely

In May, the Bitcoin Mining Council responded to the April letter with one of its own, alleging many of the lawmakers’ claims on mining were inaccurate. Many environmental groups, including Greenpeace and the Sierra Club, later urged government agencies under the Biden administration to implement new approaches in their response to crypto mining.