The Pause of the EIA Survey on Crypto Mining Firms

The Pause of the EIA Survey on Crypto Mining Firms

The Energy Information Administration (EIA) made headlines on Feb. 23 when it announced the pause of the survey on crypto mining firms. This decision came after a lawsuit was filed by members of the crypto mining sector, including Riot Platforms and the Texas Blockchain Council, the day before. The lawsuit named several government agencies and their heads as defendants, effectively halting the survey for the time being.

In a surprising move, the EIA confirmed in a statement that they would not enforce any requirements related to the survey until March 22, 2024. This means that no fines or penalties will be imposed on firms that fail to respond to the survey during this period. Additionally, any data that has already been collected will be sequestered and not used until further notice.

Republican Congressman Tom Emmer expressed his concerns about the collection of data from crypto mining firms in a letter dated Feb. 22. He argued that the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) should only grant the EIA’s information collection request if mining poses a threat to public safety. Emmer firmly stated, “Bitcoin mining is not a threat to public safety. Period.”

The lawsuit filed by Riot and the Texas Blockchain Council makes a similar argument, calling the emergency approval and claims of public harm “facially absurd.” They believe that the government’s actions are unwarranted and based on false premises regarding the dangers of crypto mining.

The survey’s connection to the Biden administration and the Democratic party has not gone unnoticed. The lawsuit explicitly references a statement made by the Biden White House in September 2022, hinting at restrictions on mining firms to combat energy consumption during peak periods. The EIA’s concerns about energy usage during high demand periods, such as cold weather, have fueled the need for data collection from crypto mining firms.

Overall, the pause of the EIA survey on crypto mining firms has sparked a heated debate within the industry and among policymakers. The legal battle between mining companies and government agencies continues to unfold, raising important questions about regulation, public safety, and the future of cryptocurrency mining in the United States.

Regulation

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