Proof-of-work (PoW) protocols have been under fire for years due to their massive energy consumption – particularly hurting the battle against climate change.
The latest censure against the mining industry derived from the US Congressman Jared Huffman. He penned a letter to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on Wednesday, requesting it to investigate and address the public and environmental harm caused by PoW facilities.
Another twenty-two House Democrats, including Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, signed the letter in support of Huffman’s tough stance against the mining industry.
- The California-based Congressman claimed in the letter that immediate actions are required to address the environmental risk and pollution associated with the crypto mining industry as its popularity embodied by the Bitcoin protocol has soared in recent years.
- To highlight the energy inefficiency of PoW mining, Huffman stated that a single Bitcoin transaction could power the average US household for a month, and Bitcoin produces annual carbon emissions as much as Greece does in the same period.
- Despite acknowledging that facilities have switched to using “coal refuse” – a cleaner energy source – for crypto mining, Huffman still considered coal-fired power plants “emitting hazardous air pollutants and leaking toxic contaminants into our waterways.” He wrote:
“Cryptocurrency mining is poisoning our communities.”
- The letter also outlined the electronic waste caused by PoW mining as devices quickly become obsolete, noting that “Bitcoin mining alone produces almost 30,700 tons of electronic waste every year.”
- Noise pollution was another source of harm mining facilities have caused to their peripheral communities, according to the letter.
- The environmentally progressive Democrat thus requested the EPA to evaluate if the existing regulations are effective enough to protect the public health and welfare from “being disrupted by these cryptocurrency facilities.”
- Besides, Huffman also praised President Joe Biden’s recent executive order calling for a sweeping review of the crypto industry, including the examination of the energy use associated with crypto mining.