The US Energy Information Administration (EIA) has been accused of “federal overreach” and of abusing its authority after it was announced that it would granted the power to regularly collect energy use data from crypto miners, reports Bloomberg.
Last week, in an emergency request that was approved by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), the EIA was cleared to demand that commercial crypto miners share their energy usage details as part of a survey titled Proposed Emergency Survey — Cryptocurrency Mining Facilities.
The clearance was granted as a matter of urgency after the EIA claimed that a combination of a major cold snap in the US and increased crypto mining activity brought about by the increasing price of bitcoin may cause “heightened uncertainty in electric power markets.”
It also alleged in its request that “public harm is reasonably likely if normal clearance procedures are followed.”
However, despite these claims, the move has drawn strong criticism from two groups in particular.
In a statement, Texas Blockchain Council president Lee Bratcher and Perianne Boring, chief exec of the Chamber of Digital Commerce said, “The EIA’s emergency action is tantamount to federal overreach and has implications for all industries that rely on data centers for their operations.”
They added that the move was “politically motivated to help the White House achieve its goals to cut greenhouse gas emissions.”
In response, the EIA stated, “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.”
According to the EIA, in 2023, crypto mining was responsible for up to 2.3% of the USA’s entire electricity use.