House Democrats ask Environmental Protection Agency for more crypto oversight

In a letter sent Thursday to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), a group of US House Democrats called for increased oversight of proof-of-work mining.

Legislators asked the agency to investigate its possible negative consequences, citing "concerns regarding reports that cryptocurrency facilities across the country are polluting communities.”

Specifically, the letter refers to noise pollution, electronic waste from hardware replacement, greenhouse gas emissions and the reopening of former gas and coal plants to power mining operations.

The letter addresses EPA administrator Michael Regan. The initiative was led by Congressman Jared Huffman, chair of the Natural Resources Water, Oceans and Wildlife Subcommittee and member of the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis.

Over 20 representatives co-signed the letter, including Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib and Brad Sherman, the latter of whom is a vocal critic of crypto, having once called for an outright ban on crypto purchases in the US.

The letter recognized President Biden’s recent executive order on crypto, which included the EPA in the list of governmental agencies that were ordered to look at the potential risks and benefits of crypto.

The EPA was tasked with coordinating with other agencies and coming up with a report that would look into, among other things, the potential for crypto to “impede or advance efforts to tackle climate change at home and abroad.”

The letter also praised the EPA's decision to deny miners Ameren and Greenidge extensions to continue operating coal ash ponds on their properties.