A group of House democrats want the Environmental Protection Agency to look into the environmental effects of crypto mining, citing "serious concerns" about pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.
Two dozen legislators, led by Rep. Jared Huffman (D-Calif.), sent a letter to the EPA this week asking the regulatory body to make sure mining companies were in compliance with the Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act.
"We have serious concerns regarding reports that cryptocurrency facilities across the country are polluting communities and are having an outsized contribution to greenhouse gas emissions," the letter reads.
The lawmakers say that the "rapidly expanding" cryptocurrency industry must be monitored, and criticized digital tokens that require proof of work (PoW) to authorize transactions, which involves miners using power-intensive computers to solve complex puzzles.
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The letter complains about the "massive server farms" used in PoW mining, saying that the use of specialized computing hardware creates "major electronic waste challenges."
"Millions of devices quickly become obsolete, leading to large amounts of electronic waste," the letter said, citing estimates that bitcoin mining alone produces 30,700 tons of electronic waste annually. "The industry needs to be held accountable for this waste and discouraged from creating it."
In addition to evaluating mining companies to ensure they are in compliance with environmental laws, the letter requests that the EPA engage with the communities where the server farms are located when reviewing permits to "ensure communities are not left with the toxic burdens associated with this technology."
A representative for the EPA did not immediately respond to CNBC Make It's request for comment.
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