Lawmakers advocate EPA examine potential digital asset mining impacts

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A group of lawmakers recently forwarded correspondence to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), advocating the agency examines the potential environmental impacts of digital asset mining.

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House Financial Services Committee Republican Leader Patrick McHenry (R-NC) and U.S. Sen. Cynthia Lummis (R-WY) joined 12 colleagues in signing off on the letter to EPA Administrator Michael Regan, encouraging the study of beneficial uses of digital asset mining before considering environmental regulation.

“We are writing to seek your assistance in ensuring that Environmental Protection Agency pursues a comprehensive analysis as it relates to understanding the potential environmental effects of digital asset mining,” the legislators wrote. “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. President Biden’s Executive Order recognizes this commitment, finding that “[w]e must reinforce United States leadership […] through the responsible development of payment innovations and digital assets.”

The lawmakers noted a substantial portion of digital asset miners’ energy use is based on renewable sources, adding many miners use other power sources, like natural gas, that may otherwise go unused.

“JAI Energy in Wyoming is an example of a company that is working with oil and gas producers to make a positive environmental impact through bitcoin mining,” the legislators concluded. “Bitcoin mining that utilizes flared gas is also reducing methane emissions in Texas, New Mexico, Colorado, West Virginia, Ohio, and North Dakota. This private sector-led breakthrough is an important tool to a lower emission future. Digital asset mining can have a substantial stabilizing effect on energy grids. It maintains robust baseload levels, yet it can be switched off quickly in times of peak demand.”

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