Republican Rep. Tom Emmer Labels Government agency's Survey for Bitcoin Miners Energy as Overreach

Republican Rep. Tom Emmer Labels Government agency’s Survey for Bitcoin Miners Energy as Overreach 

Representative Tom Emmer of Minnesota lashed at the US Management and Budget Office (OMB) for overreach after it permitted another agency to collect information regarding the energy usage by the Bitcoin miners. 

Rep Emmer’s criticism follows the move by the Nasdaq-listed Riot Platforms Inc. and Texas Blockchain Council, suing the Energy Department, alleging unlawful survey. 

The House majority whip’s bone of contention with the US OMB for authorizing tracking energy consumption levels for the Bitcoin mining firms. 

Representative Emmer Demands Clarification From OMB

Emmer demands a response from the OMB for allowing the Energy Information Administration (EIA) authority to collect energy consumption levels through a statistical and analytical unit within the Department of Energy (DoE). 

Emmer lists the concerns alleging OMB overreach in leveraging the emergency approval authority. He indicates that the crypto mining firms pose no threats to public safety. 

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Emmer penned the curious letter to the OMB Director Shalanda Young, echoing his post on X that ruled out Bitcoin mining threatening public safety. The lawmaker indicated in the Thursday, February 22 post that OMB was circumventing the emergency powers to lodge an attack on the Bitcoin miners. 

Emmer argues that the agency should prove to the OMB that public harm was inevitable to warrant assessing energy consumption levels. 

Emmer illustrated in the letter that EIA is leveraging OMB assistance to enforce the Biden administration’s regressive policy position against energy consumption. The Republican politician alleges the administration is applying the policy subjectively by targeting the digital asset industry. 

Representative Emmer questioned the OMB regarding the agency’s criteria to ascertain the emergency’s legitimacy. He sought clarification from OMB on whether EIA received public input beforehand. The lawmaker should have imposed a deadline by which the OMB should respond. 

Riot Platforms Joins Blockchain Council in Lawsuit Against Energy Department

The criticism conveyed by Emmer’s letter coincides with the lawsuit filed by the Texas Blockchain Council supported by the Bitcoin miner Riot Platforms on Thursday, February 22. The suit filed in the Texas District Court alleges the Department of Energy initiated a survey considered unlawfully approved by the OMB. 

The complaint considers the survey illustrative of the sloppy government process orchestrated via the self-inflicted urgency and invasive data collection. The Texas Blockchain Council (TBC) draws membership from digital assets, including Riot. 

The council members consider the survey to involve engaging multiple employees’ hours monthly. The complaint disputes the EIA’s assurance that the study will take 30 minutes monthly. 

The plaintiffs urged the Court’s intervention since TBC members and other crypto miners are bound to participate in the legally defective assessments. 

The plaintiffs consider such participation may result in irreparable harm when compelled to divulge confidential and sensitive data, including proprietary information, to EIA. The complaint portrays EIA as lacking lawful authority to seek and collect energy use data.  

Energy-Intensive Nature of Bitcoin Mining  

The statement released by EIA earlier this month indicated that the electricity demand linked to crypto mining activities grew sharply in the US. The statement stated that the growth in crypto-mining operations triggered concerns about the intensive nature of energy consumption and its impact on the country’s electric power sector. 

The EIA indicated that the concerns expressed emphasize strains to the grid witnessed during peak demand. The activity is responsible for higher electricity prices and likely energy-related CO2 emissions.

The EIA statement echoes the criticism lodged by Democratic lawmakers led by Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren alongside Illinois’ Dick Durbin and Katie Porter from California. The lawmakers allege that crypto mining strains the Texas electrical grid and adversely affects climate change.  

The Democratic lawmakers had in 2022 accused crypto mining of spiking demand to the unreliable grid. They alleged that such scenarios pose enormous challenges to electric power transmission, distribution and pricing while aggravating the global climate crisis.  

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