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14 U.S. Congress members appeal to EPA, citing environmental and financial benefits of Bitcoin mining

Legal

finbold.com 17 June 2022 12:04, UTC
  
Reading time: ~2 m

Despite the concerns about the environmental effects of Bitcoin (BTC) Proof-of-Work (PoW) mining, a group of United States Congress members has sent a letter to the country’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), explaining the practice actually has certain benefits.

Specifically, 14 members of the U.S. Congress urge the agency to pursue “a comprehensive analysis as it relates to understanding the potential environmental effects of digital asset mining,” according to the letter addressed to EPA’s Administrator Michael S. Regan, which crypto analyst Dennis Porter published in his tweet on June 17.

One of the co-signatories, Senator Cynthia Lummis confirmed the authenticity of the letter, dated June 16, by retweeting it. Other co-signatories include Senators Bill Hagerty, Kevin Cramer, and Steve Daines, as well as Representatives Patrick T. McHenry, Pete Sessions, Bill Posey, Bill Huizenga, Tom Emmer, Andy Barr, Anthony Gonzales, Brian Steil, William Timmons, and Ralph Norman.

Technological change and environmental effects

As per the letter, “the United States is the global leader in financial services and technology innovation. At a time of rapid technological change, we must affirm our commitment to responsible innovation to ensure future generations of Americans continue to enjoy prosperity and opportunity.”

Explaining the benefits of crypto mining for the environment, the Congress members stated:

“As you know, a substantial portion of digital asset miners’ energy use is based on renewable sources. Additionally, many miners use other power sources, like natural gas, that may otherwise go unused.”

Moreover, the letter reads that crypto mining can also have “a substantial stabilizing effect on energy grids,” as “it maintains robust baseload levels, yet it can be switched off quickly in times of peak demand.”

Economic benefits of Bitcoin mining

In terms of the country’s economic future, the letter’s signatories stated that the U.S. “must focus on promoting responsible innovation so that our country can compete in a hypercompetitive, globalized economic system.” 

To reinforce this argument, they cited Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen who earlier said that regulation needed to be “tech neutral”. In other words:

“Favoring one technology over another, including proof-of-work versus proof-of-stake, can stifle innovation, erode future economic gains, and limit affiliated efficiencies.”

It is worth noting that the PoW cryptocurrencies have been widely criticized due to the high power needed to mine them, as opposed to the Proof-of-Stake (PoS) assets that are considered more environmentally friendly.

Due to the controversy, regulators in certain regions have even proposed bans on the PoW mechanism. A similar ban was recently adopted by the New York State Senate, while it was rejected by the European Union Parliament.


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