Lawmakers reintroduce Crypto-Asset Environmental Transparency Act ahead of Senate Environmental and Public Works Committee hearing scrutinizing skyrocketing energy consumption of cryptomining industry

Across U.S., Bitcoin crypto-asset mining facilities produce greenhouse gas emissions equaling emissions from seven million gasoline-powered cars

Bill Text (PDF)

Washington (March 3, 2023) – Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), Chair of the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Subcommittee on Clean Air, Climate, and Nuclear Safety, and Representative Jared Huffman (CA-02) today announced the reintroduction of the Crypto-Asset Environmental Transparency Act, legislation to require cryptomining companies to disclose their emissions for operations that consume more than five megawatts of power and to require the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to conduct a comprehensive investigation into the impacts of U.S. cryptomining. Bitcoin crypto-asset mining companies in the United States are estimated to use enough electricity to light up every home in the nation, and their facilities produce as much greenhouse gas emissions as seven million gasoline powered cars. Senator Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) is a cosponsor.

Next week, Senator Markey will chair the first-ever Senate hearing focused on the urgent need to crack down on the growing environmental impacts of cryptomining. At the hearing, titled “Air, Climate, and Environmental Impacts of Crypto-Asset Mining,” Senator Markey will speak with experts on the crypto industry’s energy consumption, the environmental consequences of crypto emissions, alternatives to cryptomining, and claims made by industry leaders.

“The crypto industry is growing, and so is a plume of pollution around their mining facilities,” said Senator Markey. “While we’re working together as a nation to face down an existential crisis that puts the health and safety of our people and our planet in jeopardy, crypto miners are sucking megawatt after megawatt from our public grids and emitting skyrocketing greenhouse gasses, just so they can make a buck for themselves. We can’t afford to let this industry run roughshod over our communities any longer.”

“As we look to slow the effects of climate change, it makes no sense to continue ignoring cryptomining’s skyrocketing energy demands and planet-polluting emissions,” said Representative Huffman. “Granting this industry impunity to run rampant is a risk to the health and safety of our communities and planet, and we need to understand the full harm this industry presents. It’s past time for serious government oversight and regulation of these cryptocurrency schemes.”  

A copy of the bill text can be found HERE.

The Crypto-Asset Environmental Transparency Act is endorsed by Environmental Working Group, Sierra Club, Earth Justice, Greenpeace USA, Food and Water Watch, National Coalition Against Cryptomining, Public Citizen, Change the Code Campaign, Natural Resources Defense Council, Mon Valley Clean Air Coalition, Seneca Lake Guardian, Committee to Preserve the Finger Lakes, FrackBustersNY, Fossil Free Tompkins, Concerned Citizens of Navarro County, Concerned Citizens of Cook County, Cherokee County Citizens Against Crypto Mining, Upstate Forever, Nebraskans for Social Good, Responsible Growth * NE Washington, Citizens for Pennsylvania's Future, Sierra Club - Tennessee Chapter, and Kentucky Conservation Committee.

Last December, Senator Markey introduced the legislation—Crypto-Asset Environmental Transparency Act—to hold cryptomining companies accountable and reduce their energy-intensive operations that undermine U.S. climate change efforts. In October, Senator Markey joined his colleagues in writing to Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), the operator of Texas’ electrical grid, requesting information on the company’s subsides for cryptominers and how their subsides impact climate change, consumers, and the energy grid. Senator Markey and his colleagues sent a letter to the EPA and Department of Energy (DOE) in July 2022 on what they discovered in their comprehensive investigation of cryptomining’s environmental impacts while requesting that the EPA and DOE collaborate in requiring cryptominers to disclose their emissions and energy use.