US Senators introduce bill mandating crypto mining firms to report CO2 emissions

  • Senator Ed Markley and Representative Jared Huffman introduced the Crypto-Asset Environmental Transparency Act on Thursday.
  • The proposed legislation aims at increasing oversight of cryptocurrency's environmental and energy impacts.
  • Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies using the Proof of Work consensus have been stated as the biggest energy-consuming digital assets.

Bitcoin has been the face of the crypto market and the Proof of Work (PoW) consensus method. But at the same time, it has also been the face of excessive energy consumption, sparking debates about curbing the impact of digital assets. United States lawmakers furthered this discussion on Thursday with their new bill.

Bitcoin and crypto mining facilities under the radar

As per an announcement on December 8, Representative Jared Huffman, along with Senator Ed Markley, introduced a new bill to increase the government's oversight of crypto assets. The legislation titled Crypto-Asset Environmental Transparency Act would call upon the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to study the impact of crypto mining activity.

The bill would necessitate every cryptocurrency mining facility in the country that uses more than 5 Megawatts of power to report their greenhouse gas emissions. Commenting on the same, Rep. Huffman said,

"This week, Senator Ed Markey and I [Jared Huffman] teamed up to introduce The Crypto-Asset Environmental Transparency Act to require cryptomining facilities to report their carbon dioxide emissions under the Clean Air Act, as well as require a detailed interagency study on crypto's environmental impacts – finally pulling the curtain back on this industry."

According to the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, crypto assets account for 1.7% of United States electricity consumption. Out of this, Bitcoin alone is responsible for 1.4% of the domestic electricity consumed in the country.

As per Senator Markley, crypto mining facilities are jeopardizing decades worth of progress in fighting climate change by prioritizing profits. He added,

"This bill is an important step to understanding the full environmental impacts of these operations, as well as holding crypto mining operations accountable for the damage they cause."

Impact on Bitcoin mining operations

At the moment, the new bill is only aimed at mandating the reporting of greenhouse gas emissions. What action the government may take based on this data is yet to be known. 

Since Bitcoin and other cryptos using the PoW consensus method consume the most energy, any legislative action will target these assets first. However, whether this action would limit these miners' operations or shut down entirely cannot be said for sure. 

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