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US Abused Power in Bid to Get Crypto Energy Data, Groups Say

(Bloomberg) -- The US Energy Department’s new mandatory survey to collect data from Bitcoin miners is “an abuse of authority” by the Biden administration vying to limit the industry, two groups allege.

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The claim comes after the Energy Information Administration, the statistical arm of the federal agency, reported last week that cryptocurrency mining represented as much as 2.3% of the country’s entire electricity use in 2023, citing publicly available data. From February to July, the EIA will collect monthly data on cryptocurrency energy use after it was granted emergency clearance to do so.

Read More: Bitcoin Miners in US Consume Up to 2.3% of Nation’s Electricity

The EIA’s emergency action is tantamount to federal overreach and has implications for all industries that rely on data centers for their operations, Lee Bratcher, president of the Texas Blockchain Council, and Perianne Boring, chief executive officer of the Chamber of Digital Commerce, said in a statement. They called the move politically motivated to help the White House achieve its goals to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

In an emailed statement the EIA said, “We conduct dozens of surveys with energy producers and consumers — some of which we’ve been conducting for decades. We’re hopeful we can work with companies in the cryptocurrency industry to provide the American public with a clear understanding of energy use.”

Bitcoin mining requires extensive use of energy, generating concerns among policymakers and electric grid planners about straining US grids and energy-related carbon dioxide emissions. Miners argue they help reduce grid stress by turning off and freeing up power so others can use it during critical times.

(Updates with EIA comment in the penultimate paragraph.)

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