Sen. Elizabeth Warren and six other members of the U.S. Congress called on leaders in Texas to disclose the energy usage and environmental impact of Bitcoin mining operations in the state.
What Happened: Warren (D-MA) sent a letter to the Electric Reliability Council of Texas and its CEO Pablo Vegas.
In the letter, Warren accused Texas of being a “deregulated safe harbor” for crypto mining firms. The letter said Texas offered “cheap power” and relaxed regulation which could cause stress on the energy of the state, as reported by Decrypt.
Warren asked for information to be turned over that includes how much electricity Bitcoin BTC/USD miners in Texas consume and how much carbon dioxide emissions they have been responsible for over the past five years.
“In simple terms, the Bitcoin miners make money from mining that produces major strains on the electric grid, and during peak demand when the profitability of continuing to mine decreases, they then collect subsidies in the form of demand response payments when they shut off their mining operations and do nothing,” the letter read.
The letter called for information on how much the mining companies were paid in subsidies.
One specific company named in the letter was Riot Blockchain Inc RIOT, which has a facility in Rockdale, Texas. Riot Blockchain said in July it made $9.5 million by shutting down its operations and selling electricity back to the power grid.
The letter asked for full transparency and participation by parties with a response date of Oct. 31, 2022.
Six other members of Congress signed the letter to Vegas, including:
Rep. Al Green (D-TX)
Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI)
Rep. Katie Porter (D-CA)
Sen. Edward Markey (D-MA)
Rep. Jared Huffman (D-CA)
Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI)
Why It’s Important: The letter from Warren and the other members of Congress said Texas made up around 25% of U.S.-based Bitcoin mining. The state’s crypto-friendly regulations have led to numerous crypto mining companies setting up shops in Texas.
The letter from the members of Congress could be trying to get ahead of potential problems with an already delicate power grid that has crashed during severe weather issues in the state.
Warren and the members of Congress highlighted that the energy used by Bitcoin and Ethereum ETH/USD miners in 2021 was responsible for 80 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions. Three crypto mining companies that provided Congress with data were responsible for 1.6 million tons, or the equivalent of 360,000 cars, the report said.
“Cryptomining is adding significant demand to an already unreliable grid, posing enormous challenges to the transmission and distribution system,” the letter said.
Warren previously attacked Bitcoin miners in July 20221 with a target of Greenidge Generation Holdings Inc GREE.
“Bitcoin requires so much computing activity that it eats up more energy than entire countries. One of the easiest and least disruptive things we can do to fight the #ClimateCrisis is to crack down on environmentally wasteful cryptocurrencies,” Warren tweeted.
BTC Price Action: Bitcoin was down 1.08% over the 24-hour trading session to $18,919.95 Thursday at publication.
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