Texas Blockchain Council and Riot Platforms Challenge US Federal Agencies Over Crypto Energy Scrutiny

Texas Blockchain Council and Riot Platforms Challenge US Federal Agencies Over Crypto Energy Scrutiny

The Texas Blockchain Council (TBC) and Riot Platforms have taken legal action against the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), its Energy Information Administration (EIA), and the U.S. Office of Management and Budget (OMB), signaling a significant pushback against what they perceive as undue regulatory scrutiny of the cryptocurrency sector, particularly concerning energy usage.

Filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas on Feb. 22, the lawsuit challenges the emergency collection of information by the EIA from select TBC members, including Riot Platforms, alleging violations of the Paperwork Reduction Act and its regulations. The plaintiffs accuse the agencies of acting without due process, echoing previous criticisms leveled at the SEC for similar regulatory actions.

The legal challenge stems from the EIA’s announcement last month of its intention to collect data on electricity consumption from specific U.S.-based crypto-mining operations, following the rapid approval by the OMB of an emergency data collection request. TBC members, concerned about the disclosure of operational details, argue that such actions pose risks of further scrutiny and potential targeting of the industry.

Describing the government’s initiative as a “direct assault on private businesses,” TBC and its allies seek legal remedies to prevent the DOE and EIA from proceeding with data collection from identified commercial cryptocurrency miners. They also aim to annul the OMB’s approval of the data collection effort, advocating for a halt to any data gathering without proper notice and public comment opportunities.

Following the OMB’s approval, the EIA reported a significant increase in annual electricity consumption by crypto miners, leading to considerations of potential regulation. Lee Bratcher, President of TBC, criticized the government’s oversight efforts, suggesting that they are politically motivated rather than aimed at grid stability.

This lawsuit reflects broader industry resistance to perceived regulatory overreach. Figures like House Majority Whip Tom Emmer have criticized the Biden administration’s approach to Bitcoin mining and the crypto industry, accusing it of overstepping its authority. Recent legal actions by entities like Lejilex and the Crypto Freedom Alliance of Texas against the SEC underscore growing industry discontent with regulatory pressures.

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