VESTAL, NY (WSKG) — U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) plans to introduce a bipartisan bill to establish a regulatory framework for cryptocurrency in the coming weeks.
Gillibrand spoke alongside Sen. Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.) during a Event hosted by POLITICO in Washington on Thursday. The two senators said they plan to introduce legislation to begin addressing regulatory issues associated with digital currency.
The move comes as lawmakers in the New York Legislature are working to scale back some energy-intensive cryptocurrency mining operations in the state, due to concerns about their environmental impacts. Legislation to implement a three-year moratorium on proof-of-work cryptocurrency mining was passed by the Assembly’s Environmental Conservation Committee last week.
Asked about energy concerns, Gillibrand acknowledged the effort to implement a moratoriumbut did not say whether she supported that decision.
“Senator Gillibrand is carefully considering this issue and potential solutions,” Gillibrand spokeswoman Lizzie Landau wrote when asked if the senator supports a moratorium on proof-of-work mining in New York. . “She thinks we should avoid creating a situation where jurisdictions ‘race to the bottom’ in an effort to attract new business, which could lead to businesses simply moving from places with high environmental standards to those with low or non-existent environmental standards. She believes businesses must be held accountable and cannot avoid regulations simply by moving; rather, she thinks we should encourage them to use renewable energy and act as stewards of their local ecosystems.
Gillibrand’s office indicated that upcoming legislation will likely include reporting requirements on blockchain networks to disclose how their validation processes work. This information, Gillibrand hopes, will allow potential cryptocurrency investors to weigh up the details, including energy demand.
“I think the environment is important to a lot of people, so I think you have to address it on some level and you can do that through consumer choice and you can do that through transparency,” Gillibrand said.
The senator also referenced the Greenidge Generation Powerhouse, a bitcoin mining operation along Seneca Lake in Yates County that sparked protests environmental activists.
New York’s Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is currently considering renewing the plant’s air pollution permits, given its new bitcoin mining operation. The ministry previously said it would issue a decision on the matter by Thursday.
Gillibrand has called for the Environmental Protection Agency to exercise oversight powers over the permitting process for Greenidge.