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Texas Blockchain Council v. Department of Energy

On behalf of the Texas Blockchain Council and Riot Platforms, Inc., NCLA persuaded the the Department of Energy (DOE) and Energy Information Administration (EIA) to end an attempt to force cryptocurrency mining companies to hand over sensitive information through a mandatory survey. NCLA alleged that the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) had given EIA emergency permission to collect this data despite EIA’s failure to demonstrate that short-cutting the statutory process would prevent public harm, as federal law requires.

Without following the notice-and-comment process, EIA Administrator Joseph DeCarolis requested on January 24, 2024 that OMB allow his agency to demand monthly information collections from cryptocurrency mining companies about their energy consumption, including sensitive and highly proprietary information. DeCarolis’s request relied on EIA’s assertion that cryptocurrency mining “potentially disrupted the electric power industry,” claiming that EIA should be allowed to skip the Paperwork Reduction Act’s required comment process before such data collection “because public harm is reasonably likely if normal clearance procedures are followed.” However, EIA never established that public harm would likely result if its “emergency” request were denied.

On February 23, NCLA secured a Temporary Restraining Order blocking EIA’s survey for 14 days nationwide. On March 1, DOE and EIA agreed to withdraw the survey and destroy any information they received in response to it. They also agreed to withdraw their February 9 notice, which sought comments about continuing the emergency survey. Instead, the agencies said they would publish a new notice in the Federal Register proposing data collection and allow comments to be submitted for 60 days afterward, in accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act.

NCLA’s lawsuit alleged that in unlawfully demanding these companies’ data, EIA appeared to be responding to political pressure rather than a genuine emergency implicating public harm. But the Paperwork Reduction Act allows emergency exceptions only in limited circumstances.

Kara Rollins
Litigation Counsel
Russ Ryan
Senior Litigation Counsel
NCLA FILINGS

Notice of Agreement

March 1, 2024 | Read More

Order

March 1, 2024 | Read More

Supplemental Declaration of Dominic J. Mancini

March 1, 2024 | Read More

Supplemental Declaration by Joseph Decarolis

March 1, 2024 | Read More

Order Granting Plaintiffs’ Motion For Temporary Restraining Order

February 22, 2024 | Read More

PRESS RELEASES

NCLA Persuades Energy Dept. to Halt Unlawful Emergency Demand for Cryptocurrency Mining Data

March 1, 2024 | Read More

NCLA Wins Order Blocking Dep’t of Energy’s Unlawful Demand for Cryptocurrency Mining Data

February 23, 2024 | Read More

NCLA Suit Challenges DOE’s Unlawful Attempt to Collect Cryptocurrency Miners’ Energy Use Data

February 23, 2024 | Read More

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