EIA Temporarily Halts Bitcoin Mining Probe Amid Legal Challenge

The U.S. Energy Information Administration has temporarily halted its investigation into the energy consumption of bitcoin miners.
eia bitcoin miners thumbnail

In a significant development, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), a statistical arm of the Department of Energy, has decided to temporarily suspend its investigation into the energy consumption of bitcoin miners.

This decision follows a lawsuit filed by Riot Platforms and the Texas Blockchain Council against the department’s scrutiny, marking a pivotal moment in the ongoing debate surrounding the environmental impact of digital asset mining.

Legal Action Prompts EIA to Pause Survey

The EIA made the announcement via an official statement on X post, citing the ongoing legal challenge as the reason behind the suspension. The department assured that during this period, it would not use any data obtained from respondents to Form EIA-862, the survey in question.

The statement further clarified:

“EIA will not enforce any requirement to file Form EIA-862 nor seek or impose any fines, penalties, or other adverse consequences based on a failure to respond to the survey through March 22, 2024.”

Background

Last month, the agency initiated a survey to examine the electricity usage of select U.S. digital asset mining companies. Soon after, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) greenlighted the probe as an “emergency collection of data request.” This authorized the the agency to conduct a mandatory survey on the location and energy consumption patterns of Bitcoin mining companies across the nation. 

The EIA estimated that, in 2023, Bitcoin mining consumed between 0.2% and 0.9% of global electricity demand, with the U.S. representing between 0.6% and 2.3%.

Court Grants Temporary Restraining Order

Riot Platforms, a prominent miner, and the Texas Blockchain Council challenged the agency’s move, characterizing the survey as a “sloppy government process” and “invasive government data collection.”

They criticized the urgency behind the data collection as “contrived” and took legal action against the EIA. The Texas Blockchain Council expressed concerns about the sensitivity of the information requested and the potential public exposure of details about mining operations. In response to the legal challenge, the court ordered the EIA to temporarily suspend the investigation.

restraining order public bitcoin miners information EIA
Source: X

The judge ruled that the EIA’s statements were “arbitrary, capricious, [or] an abuse of discretion” and expressed belief that the plaintiffs were likely to succeed in showing that the facts alleged by the defendants did not justify an emergency request.

eia part of courts ruling
Court’s ruling — Source

Bitcoin Community’s Criticism and Political Response

The emergency request faced widespread criticism within the Bitcoin community, with prominent figures expressing their disapproval.

House Majority Whip Tom Emmer recently wrote a letter to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), stating that bitcoin miners do not pose a threat to public safety. He questioned the use of emergency approval authority in this instance.

On February 1, Marty Bent, co-founder of The Standard BTC, minced no words in expressing his disdain for the Biden administration’s stance on the bitcoin mining industry. The tweet gained substantial support, leading to circulation of satirical memes highlighting the community’s discontent.

The temporary suspension of the investigation highlights the complex intersection of regulatory scrutiny, legal challenges, and community-driven responses.

100% of your tips go directly to anishapandey135@getalby.com

Support writers: ⚡️ Tip The Author

Want Bitcoin-only Updates?

Weekly news roundups direct to your inbox!

Subscribe for Bitcoin-only Updates

Get weekly news roundups direct to your inbox!

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Get Published Now

To promote Hyper-Bitcoinization, we’re inviting all Bitcoiners to share their stories, analysis and opinions with us and get rewarded with Bitcoin!

News

Stay Informed And Up to Date!

Subscribe To Our Weekly Newsletter

Stay Informed with Breaking News

Get breaking Bitcoin-Only content delivered straight to your inbox every week!

Bitcoin-Only Content Sent Directly to your Inbox!